• December 3rd, 2020

Sewage overflow shuts down school

Stefanus Nambara
Elizabeth Hiyolwa

NKURENKURU - The Namibia National Teachers’ Union (Nantu) and the Namibia National Student Organisation (Nanso) on Monday morning forced the closure of the Leevi Hakusembe Senior Secondary School in Kavango West region, sending grade 11 and 12 learners and teachers home. 

This is a result of a hazardous sanitation condition for both learners and teachers at the school. This follows after the unions assessed the school’s health situation last week Thursday and discovered the serious health hazard posed by the sewage water from the blocked sewage system submerging the hostel and teachers’ houses. 

The school is also hit with unfit ablution facilities due to broken showers and toilets, which are out of order. 
“What we found out was most of the learners’ toilets and showers are out of order, that’s why we have a situation whereby learners from block one are sharing, maybe two toilets with learners in block two. Ablution facilities within the admin block is out of order, as such, teachers are sharing one visitors’ toilet, this situation is unconducive,” said Jonathan Martin, the chairperson of Nantu for the Bunya circuit. 
The directorate of education was given until last Sunday to attend to the problem, but that was not done, prompting the closure of the school on Monday. During the closure of the school, the unions still gave the directorate this week to fix the problem. Only until then, teachers and learners would be allowed back at the school. 

“With Nantu, the welfare of teachers is a priority to us. There is no way and never will it happen that Nantu will allow teachers’ lives to be compromised at the duty station,” he stressed. Meanwhile, Nanso chairman for the region Stephanus Kudumo indicated that an unconducive environment poses many health risks. “If we force learners to remain in the hostel, it means we will not only be expecting coronavirus alone but also expect Hepatitis E, Diarrhoea and Cholera, those are also diseases that can kill, it is not only Covid-19,” he said.
The school principal, Alexander Kudhumo, said the issue of the sewage system is not something new as it has been ongoing for a long time, and was never addressed before. Kudhumo added that when the school was renovated some years back, nothing was done to the system although a request was made, which according to him was supposed to be attended to in the second phase of the renovations between 2014 and 2015 but never kicked off.  

“All along, it was just a contractor that used to come and unblock system and then after few days, the problem comes back again,” he said. 
The principal feels that the situation is disadvantaging the learners that were sent home. “It is very disappointing in terms of education because these learners will be sitting for external examination and the syllabus is not yet completed,” he stated. 
Regional director Teopolina Hamutumua said the diagnosis for a possible lasting solution to the sewage problem was done and due processes had started, but is estimated to take a month or more before completion. 

She added that the directorate, before the closure of the school, was looking at the possibility of training a hostel caretaker to take the responsibilities of unblocking the sewage lines until a lasting solution is found. In a span of two weeks only since the last week of June, the directorate indicated that it had already forked out about N$70 000 for the services of unblocking the sewage lines alone.
 She said the planned renovations of the sewage system and acquisition of a bigger sewage pumping machine will only solve the problem if learners adhere to the correct sanitation hygiene and if hostel supervisors strictly monitor learners’ adherence as they continuously flush materials such as plastics and feminine sanitary products in toilets, which piles up and blocks the system. 
The school was allocated an amount of N$500 000 from the Covid-19 budget for sewage line replacement.

Staff Reporter
2020-07-15 09:21:38 | 4 months ago

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