EENHANA – Hituwamata Primary School in Eenhana circuit in the Ohangwena Region, which sometimes taught learners under trees due to lack of formal space, has received one new classroom and a storeroom.
Fishing company Tunacor constructed the classroom for the school, as part of its social corporate responsibility.
Since its establishment in 2011, Hituwamata Primary School has experienced an unconducive teaching and learning environment for both teachers and learners, as there were no classrooms at the onset, resulting in lessons taking place under trees.
The community subsequently organised itself to build temporary wooden structures.
The school, which started with an enrolment of 27 learners and two teachers, to date has a permanent structure block of four classrooms constructed by the government, in addition to the newly built permanent structure by Tunacor Fisheries Ltd.
The principal of Hituwamata, Isai Toivo, expressed his gratitude for the donation. The number of leaners has increased to 526, while teachers are now 15. Despite the construction of the four permanent classrooms, some leaners are still taught in makeshift classrooms with no desks and chairs. Some sit on the ground during lessons.
This situation forced the school to seek assistance from the private sector, and Tunacor responded positively.
The construction of one classroom and storeroom represents phase one of the commitment by Tunacor, with phase two of the project – also to build another classroom and storeroom – to follow in the near future.
Speaking at the inauguration on Friday, Tunacor’s representative Sha-Riza Smith stated that they were motivated by the community’s determination to do what it could to ensure the children are educated.
“This situation prompted some action from the side of Tunacor to undertake a project in phases to assist Hituwamata,” said Smith.
Apart from the construction of the classroom and a storeroom, the company further funded solar facilities, chairs, tables and stationery. These donations are worth N$500 000.
Smith urged other fellow private companies to follow suit in supporting local institutions. In her keynote address, the executive director in the Ministry of Education, Arts and Culture, Sanet Steenkamp applauded Tunacor’s efforts in assisting government to reduce the classroom construction backlog. She added that school infrastructure development is important and an anchor for the radical transformation of basic education in Namibia.
“Education is more than a collective responsibility and the sooner we realise it the faster we will move in the same direction of success and prosperity for our beloved country and youth,” encouraged Steenkamp.
Giving an overview of the development budget, Steenkamp said in the 2017/2018 financial year the education ministry provided a basic education facility budget of N$122 million for the construction of teachers’ houses, classrooms and sanitation in all 14 regions.
In the same financial year, the ministry provided N$53 million for renovations. In the 2018/2019 financial year, the ministry provided N$128 million for the construction of teachers’ houses, classrooms and sanitation facilities, while N$87 million was distributed for renovation.
In 2019/2020, N$ 80 million will be distributed to the regions for the construction of classrooms, sanitation facilities, libraries and teachers’ housing, while N$60 million will be used for renovations.
Hituwamata has grades from pre-primary to 7.
*Hilma Nakanduungile is an information officer in the Ministry of Information and Communication Technology based in Ohangwena Region.