OKAOKO-OTAVI – The Okaoko-Otavi Combined School has been without running water since May despite government allocating money towards the construction and renovation of ablution facilities to intensify the fight against Covid-19.
Learners at Okaoko-Otavi, which is situated 50km south of Opuwo, are yet to resume face-to-face learning because of the water shortage at the school.
The ministry of education has renovated the ablution facility at the school; however, due to the shortage of water, the contractor has been unable to test the water system that was repaired.
The school’s principal indicated a broken cylinder at the local borehole was contributing to the shortage of water.
He added arrangements have been made with the regional education directorate to make use of the school subsidy and Universal Education Fund to source for a new cylinder. Director general of the National Planning Commission Obeth Kandjoze visited the school last week and decried the state of affairs. “Let’s find a short cut. I am not going nowhere for a solution,” Kandjoze said.
“You are going to make sure the school board is hoarded in one place, read the resolution of the school board and approve before contracting for services. If the element can be bought in Opuwo, we go to the store. If approval is granted, why should we go beyond Monday without water?”
Teachers have expressed dissatisfaction of the situation they find themselves in, especially when nature calls at night.
“In the middle of the night, we have to go in the bush to make use of the toilet. The whole school is fenced; you need to go to the main gate to go to the bush. We have a big problem here at Okaoko-Otavi; since May, we do not have water,” said one of the teachers Ndjai Tjipera.
In addition to the water crisis, Kandjoze raised concerns over the open oxidation pond used by the school, noting it was posing a health hazard to both learners and the local community.
“Once you fix the water reticulation system and sewer system, where is this thing dumping? It cannot come to this; that is an open health hazard. So, find a grader, cover this up, compact it, and forget about the thing. Find the cost-benefit analysis between covering this up and starting a new one and maybe half a size not the biggest size as this, given the number of students,” he suggested.
Kandjoze also advised stakeholders to stop shifting blame and start to work as a team.