Ohangwena school hostels overcrowded

Stefanus Nashama

The high demand for hostel capacity is causing overcrowding in school hostels in the Ohangwena region.

The Parliamentary Standing Committee on Human Resources and Community Development discovered the dire situation during a recent visit to the region.

A member of the committee, Utaara Mootu said they found that despite the average hostel capacity of 500 learners, schools in the region were compelled to accommodate up to 1,200 learners.

She stated that the current situation has compelled learners to rent unsupervised accommodation, leaving them vulnerable to various social challenges.

“Four schools have been consolidated to accommodate Grades 10 and 11. Only one of these schools receives subsidies for hostel accommodations. Students from the other schools must endure a 15 km walk to and from school daily. Consequently, the school administration has proposed that some students camp on the premises, with parents responsible for providing their meals,” she said.

Mootu said that at some school hostels, learners were forced to gather firewood after school to cook for themselves because the school lacked the resources to provide meals.

The committee is engaging stakeholders and sharing ideas and perspectives on the current crisis facing the education sector.

During the consultation with stakeholders, the parliamentarian revealed a shortage of more than 500 classrooms.

Mootu also noted a great backlog of textbooks has accumulated over the past two to three years, with no new supplies reaching schools in the region.

The committee also found that among the 61 schools catering to grade 10 and 12 learners, 28 lack laboratory facilities, while 11 are inadequately equipped.

Mootu said there are only 22 schools with functional laboratory facilities.

The committee also paid a courtesy call to the governor of the Ohangwena region, Sebastian Ndeitunga.

During their engagement, Ndeitunga urged the parliamentarians to assess challenges faced on the ground, especially those faced by teachers and learners in rural areas.

“I urged you as parliamentarians to look at what is on the ground and all the challenges faced by our teachers and learners,” said the governor.

Some of the challenges raised during the consultations included a lack of funds allocated to the education ministry, a lack of career guidance for learners, and a lack of adequate teaching material for teachers.

People also brought up issues like dilapidated hostels, a lack of technology, outdated libraries, constant changes in school curricula, and the need for skilled teachers, not just educators.

The committee’s mandate includes considering any relevant matter pertaining to the offices, ministries, agencies, and all state-owned enterprises and parastatals.

This is consistent with categories such as basic education, arts and culture, higher education, training, and innovation.

The committee may also consult with relevant institutions, including civil society organisations, to perform other functions, tasks, and duties relating to parliamentary supervision.

Apart from Mootu, the delegation is led by member of parliament Bertha Dinyando and includes other members such as Annakletha Sikerete, Herlinde Tjiveze, and Gothard Kandume.

Related Posts