Matheus Hamutenya Keetmanshoop-Roman Catholic school hostels in the //Kharas Region are struggling to keep abreast with the running costs of the hostels as government funding dwindles. The church-run hostels at Keetmanshoop, Bethanie, Karasburg and Tses are said to be struggling to feed their pupils, as the government subsidy, which has been of great help over the years, has been reduced this year. The hostel manager of Don Bosco Primary School, W. Tooispan, informed New Era that all Catholic hostels in the region have been severely affected by the reduced subsidy, as less money was received from the state and this has affected the pupils at most of their hostels. She also said while the subsidy has been reduced this year, most Catholic hostels in the region are yet to receive their full subsidy for the third term. “We used to receive about N$300,000 per term, but the second term this year we only received N$100,000, and this term we only received N$42,000, and this is simply not enough to cater for these children,” she revealed. The former Don Bosco Primary School principal said the government subsidy has been of great help, and reducing it or taking it away completely will affect most of the hostels, noting that the fees paid by learners is not sufficient to maintain and run the hostels. Using Don Bosco hostel as an example, she explained that the hostel learners pay an amount of N$150 per term, but she said some parents fail to pay these fees, and thus life has become difficult with the less money from the state, saying it is impossible to only depend on hostel fees paid by the learners. Due to the hardships experienced, Don Bosco hostel received a donation of food worth N$50,000 from Metro last week and Tooispan said the donation could not have come at a better time. “Seeing the economic situation of our country, the donation has really been a light in the dark for the children. It is something that we did not expect and we are very grateful for,” she said. Contacted for comment, the director of education in the //Kharas Region //Awebahe //Hoeseb, said the ministry is in talks with private schools on the issue of subsidies, and schools have a chance to make their inputs on the matter. He however said private schools should be thankful for what the government is doing in assisting them, adding that it is not only the subsidies that government provides to schools, but other necessary assistance, such as paying teachers’ salaries and other related expenses. He said the subsidies are but only a drop in the ocean of the amount of money that the government spends on Roman Catholic schools. “It is like giving a person N$1 million and N$5 on top of that for them to buy oranges every day, and then you stop giving them the N$5 and they start complaining and paint a picture that you are not giving them anything,” he said.
2017-11-08 09:21:51 10 months ago