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Planned Namutoni school in limbo

2019-03-01  Obrien Simasiku

Planned Namutoni school in limbo

OMUTHIYA - Plans to construct a primary school at Namutoni, Etosha National Park still hang in the air, two years after the plan was conceived. 

The directorate of education knows little about the details although acknowledged having heard about the idea of establishing a school.

The park only has one school which is at Okaukuejo, and as a result most of the employees in the park, surrounding farms and private lodges have their children taken to Oshivelo, Tsumeb or their home towns for learning. 
The former circuit inspector for Oshivelo, Gottlieb Shikongo, in an interview with New Era said they have not heard from the community since they were given an application form in 2016.

“We issued an application to the community in 2016 but they never brought it back to us. So we are still waiting to hear from the community, therefore, as far I am concerned, nothing has been done in that regard. If there are new developments it might have been done towards end of last year to date,” stressed Shikongo who moved to Oshigambo circuit mid-last year.

A source who wished not to be named, living in the park, said: “There has been no progress since then, and it looks like the idea has died. The other challenge is the low population, as most the children of the farm, lodge workers, are not living with their children at the work place, thus it makes it difficult to reach the target number required to open a school.”
The envisioned school was to be from Grade 1 to 4. Currently there is only a pre-primary at Namutoni serving the children from the surroundings.

The councillor for Omuthiya constituency Samuel Shivute, who was among the forerunners of the idea, said the issue was raised with the directorate of education and he was still waiting to hear progress from them.

Meanwhile, the director of education Lameck Kafidi upon inquiry said: “All I can recall is the councillor for Omuthiya mentioning something about a school, but promised to get back with more details.”

“I should also note that at the moment it is pretty much a challenge to open a new school. We are already phasing a shutdown of smaller schools. So for that to happen we have to thoroughly examine the viability and sustainability of such a school, considering the precarious economic situation we are faced with,” elaborated Kafidi.

“It is significant to examine the number of learners from the age of 6 that are in the surroundings, then scrutinise whether that population can sustain the school in the next two to three years,” he said, adding he is still waiting to hear from the parties involved on the way forward.

2019-03-01  Obrien Simasiku

Tags: Oshikoto
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