RUNDU - Learning at many schools in both the Kavango East region has been delayed due to water challenges.
Water and sanitation remain a problem with about 70 schools still in need of water, while only seven have had their water re-connected during the Covid-19 pandemic.
“We have almost 70 schools that need water and from those, about seven of them have been solved and what we have done in some schools is that we placed tanks and will take water there every now and then to refill the tanks while waiting for the rural water supply directorate to sort these schools out,” said the Kavango East deputy director of education, Pontianus Musore.
Musore said the provision of water to rural schools is the responsibility of the rural water supply directorate, however, water at seven schools that are near NamWater facilities have been restored by the education directorate at Shinyungwe, Shamangorwa, Mukuvi, Korokoko, Divuyu and Mbambi.
“We have already connected those schools there, they now have potable water but for many of the schools in rural areas we are still relying and waiting for rural water supply as they are given the mandate to do the connections on our behalf,” said Musore.
It was noted the lack of water at schools in many rural schools has hindered progress and school reopening considering a big number of schools still need water which could compromise sanitation. “However, there are also schools that have taken the initiative of their own to ensure that they have water for learners. As we speak, there are only four schools that are not open last week when the lower grades resumed classes due to lack of water,” he said.
“Other schools have put temporary measures in place to ensure learners have water. Among the schools that didn’t resume classes last week are; Tjova in Kambimba Circuit, and two others in Shambyu Circuit which are Shimpanda and Tyeye. They also do not have water and ablution facilities,” he added. Musore said the provision of water to all rural schools is not possible due to limited funding. “With the funds we have, there will be some schools that will be left out of the process, however, in future, we intend to give them ablution facilities,” Musore said. “The advantage that we have with schools in the rural hinterland is that they have small populations, some of them have 20 to 28 learners and some have six learners, so it’s easier for us for the time being to give them water that they can use at the moment while rural water supply connects them,” said the deputy education director.
With sanitation, Musore told New Era they identified schools and have prioritised them in terms of which one is getting what kind of ablution facilities and that they are almost at a stage where they advertise tenders for contractors to start with the construction of this ablution facilities. “With renovations of ablution facilities, we have already started,” he said. Last week, the directorate of education in Kavango East visited renovation sites of ablution facilities at some secondary schools in the company of the deputy minister of education, Faustina Caley. “At Maria Mwengere Secondary school when the grade 11 and 12 came back to school, the renovations were still not done, but as we speak, they are almost done, also at Martin Ndumba, we also had challenges with ablution facilities but as we speak, they are almost done with renovations,” Musore said.
“We also deal with kitchen facilities at our hostels in the region in preparation for school coming back in full swing, the pots, freezer rooms are being fixed to ensure they are in a good state, contractors are on site busy finalising and at some schools, they are done sorting them out,” he said.