Schools ready to resume

Rudi Bowe

With the majority of schools in the Erongo Region having the green light in terms of their readiness to resume face-to-face teaching next week there are however some schools in the Erongo region with a water shortage problem.

The Director of Education in the Erongo region Erenfriede Stephanus briefed the media after a familiarisation tour to various schools around Omatjete, Tubusis and Spitzkoppe in the region. Stephanus said her office with stakeholders, including the governor of the Erongo Region, Neville Andre visited the various schools and hostels in the region to familiarised themselves with the readiness of the schools.
Stephanus said, “The modes of the education ministry is that schools will again operate in a bubble system as this will allow the different grades to operate in isolation to mitigate the risk of infecting students with Covid-19. According to Stephanus parents will still be allowed to have learning from home as an option, especially for children who have underlying health conditions and provided that a set of guidelines are adhered to. The details of plans to reopen schools are ever evolving and the ministry is work on a daily basis and receive weekly updates from the inspectors and stakeholders. Stephanus explained that the system that was used when schools reopened last year after a lengthy lockdown, worked, therefore the same system where learners will still be divided into groups and will go to school on different days will be put in place when schools reopen next week. “This will allow schools to operate various grades in isolation to decrease the risk of Covid-19 infections at school and gives teachers the opportunity to work better with smaller groups”, Stephanus said.

The Namibia National Teachers’ Union (NANTU) in Swakopmund is unhappy with the re-opening of some schools as they don’t have sufficient water.
NANTU Vice chairperson Alina Alicky Imbili raised the concern over the fact that water remains a challenge for schools in the rural areas of the Erongo region in particular the Daures constituency. According to Alicky Imbili, they expected that the water problem has been solved as it was reported last year to various authorities, but the situation remains unchanged. Alicky Imbili said, “We cannot send learners to schools while we know that there is not sufficient water as water is a necessity, especially now with Covid-19, it will not be in the best interest of the learners and teachers to reopen those schools.”
Erongo Regional Governor, Neville Andre, assured the union that his office and various stakeholders in the education sector in the region are working hard at ensuring that the problem will be solved soon.
Andre said, “This problem is not only for schools and hostels, but the entire community is suffering. Some boreholes are dry and others are not effective, which leads to lack of water and low water supply to the communities.”
According to Andre water has always been a challenge for the residents in the Daures constituency due to the persistent drought the region experienced over the years.
“There is water but it’s just not sufficient, we are looking into it. At the stage, Namwater is making sure there is water for residents, we are also looking at increasing it so that it is sufficient for both schools, hostels and the residents. My office is in communication with the ministry of water affairs, and we will soon have an engagement to address some of these issues. It is receiving our urgent attention”, Andre said.

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