Learning and teaching at Onesi Secondary School have been suspended due to overflowing sewage that started on Thursday last week. Close to 900 learners were sent home until the problem is rectified.
According to the school principal Junias Shende, sewage is all over the school premises and it is risky for the learners and the school staff to step in the water.
He added that the sewage pipeline is also blocked.
Shende described the situation as the biggest challenge faced by the school for the past two years.
“I sent learners home because they are unable to use toilets when nature calls. Learners are unable to bath because the bathrooms are full of water,” he stressed.
The school sent 859 learners home on Saturday while teachers were released Monday after the sewage ran into their sleeping quarters.
Shende added that he wrote a letter to the Omusati education director, notifying him of the situation at school but he did not yet respond.
“I have no choice, I have to send learners home because it will not help keep learners in the school while the sewage machine is not working,” he said.
“We will announce the day on the radio of when the learners have to return to school but only when the situation gets back to normal,” he said.
Furthermore, Shende said this situation has also forced teachers to go home because they are frustrated.
Hostel superintendent Joe Himalayi also confirmed the issue to this paper, saying the school sent the learners and teachers home because the environment is not conducive for both.
He added that the school consulted relevant offices pertaining to the matter and no amicable solutions were reached.
The superintendent refused to shed more light on the matter citing that he is not authorised to speak to the media. He referred all enquiries to the Omusati regional education director Benny Eiseb who could not answer his mobile phone.
According to the teachers at the school, who spoke on condition of anonymity, the sewage problem started in September last year.
“All service rooms and manholes at both classes and hostel blocks are full of sewage since last year. Hence, the situation needs immediate attention. This unhygienic environment obviously might hinder the teaching and learning at our school as per the World Health Organisation and the Ministry of Health and Social Services regulation,” said a frustrated teacher who also stays in the hostel.
The teachers further said another pressing issue is that the rainwater has mixed with sewage water and made its way into the hostel blocks and surrounds the hostel blocks, which poses a health risk to learners.
Another concerned teacher revealed another block that accommodates 64 boys at school was closed permanently last year due to the same problem.
“Last year in November while learners were writing exams, the same problem occurred. The learners were distracted during this critical time. We had to squeeze them into the other blocks for them to complete their exam. That is how destructive this issue is,” said a concerned teacher.
They told New Era that they are tired of the bad smell that permanently hangs around the school.
A grade 12 teacher said they are appealing to the office of the director to solve this issue as soon as possible because it will affect teaching and learning at school.
“We are not going back to the school if the situation isn’t resolved,” she said.
Parents who spoke to New Era are blaming the office of the Omusati education director for failing to solve this issue.
They said the director was aware of the situation but he didn’t do anything.
They added that they are not happy when their children are sitting at home doing nothing.
Therefore, their learners need to be taught, especially the ones in grade 11 and 12.