LISELO - The construction of a Chinese-funded school and hostel is nearing completion, despite the recent theft of building materials by community members.
Site manager Jianhua Jiang confirmed that the project at the Liselo Combined School is 95% complete.
“Everything is on course. We anticipate finishing the work by 18 October. We were delayed when people stole the building materials. We had to again order the materials from China, which caused some delays,” he stated.
In fact, the school management expressed gratitude for the project, saying it is a blessing as learners will no longer be commuting long distances. That is an issue which has caused high
absenteeism over the years, leading to poor academic performance.
Seddy Simasiku, head of department at Liselo, said many learners travel long distances from as far as Cowboy in Katima Mulilo.
The construction of the school hostel would thus ameliorate this crisis. “The other challenge the hostel will help curb is absenteeism.
Most parents are not well-educated. Some parents send their children to sell goods, instead of encouraging them to attend school. We must constantly educate parents on the importance of education, as some parents do not even attend
parents meetings. Therefore, absenteeism is very high here due to parents not sending their children to school. We believe once the hostel is complete, absenteeism will be a thing of the past,” a hopeful Simasiku said.
The project is part of the Chinese government providing grants for the construction of four rural schools - two in Kavango West and two in the Zambezi region.
The Chinese support was to construct additional facilities at the Liselo and Masokotwani Combined Schools in Zambezi, as well as at the Satotwa and
Simanya Combined Schools in Kavango West.
The construction of these additional facilities comprises school hostels, teachers’ houses, dining halls, classrooms,
computer labs, libraries, ablution facilities, sports facilities, septic tanks and fences.
Toliso Matthews, also a head of department, said “most learners here commute from town, which is almost 10 kilometres away. When they reach school, they are exhausted, and some thus choose to remain home. Some end up in the bush and start
Upon the completion of the hostel, it will be a blessing as they will be accommodated”. The Liselo Combined School has about 741 learners, with 24 teachers. The school runs from grades 0-9.
The new construction comprises nine classrooms, two hostel blocks for boys and girls, a dining hall, and ablution facilities, among other amenities.
As it stands, the school has a shortage of classrooms, as some learners are being accommodated in corrugated iron zinc.
The school is likewise in need of teacher houses, as they too commute to and from town.
Simasiku said the pass rate of the school is average, citing factors of high absenteeism and lack of parental involvement.