Current track



190 Nankuntwe pupils sleeping outside

Written by on April 23, 2024

…as winter approaches

Some Nankuntwe Combined School pupils sometimes sleep outside their classrooms on the school premises, because the tents they normally sleep in are in a dilapidated state.

The school is situated on the floodplains in the Kabbe South constituency in the Zambezi region, which often becomes inaccessible due to floods.

As a result, about 190 pupils are currently camping at the school to be able to attend classes.

A concerned community member, who spoke to The Namibian on condition of anonymity, on Friday said they are concerned about the well-being and safety of the pupils sleeping in tents.

The community member said when these pupils sleep outside, they are exposed to dangerous animals, such as snakes and can also be harmed by criminals.

“They do not get the proper rest needed to focus in class. We really can’t afford to compromise the education and safety of the Namibian child like this in an independent Namibia.

“The winter season is fast approaching, and these pupils would still have to to sleep outside in the cold if the matter is not attended to,” the community member said.

School principal Gift Samboma says the school is trying to resolve the issue, but is faced with financial challenges in securing building materials.

“Normally, we get tents from the regional council, but these tents do not last a year or more, because they are damaged by rain or high temperatures. We keep fixing and using these old tents, but whenever there is wind or rain, they collapse.

“It’s a terrible situation on the ground. As a result, some pupils feel they are better off sleeping outside as opposed to in a tent that may collapse on them in the middle of the night,” he says.

Samboma says the school embarked on a project to build stronger structures for accommodation last year.

He says the school has requested used zinc sheets from the regional council and has received about 100.

“Last year, we managed to buy building materials from our grants and construct one corrugated structure. However, it only accommodates a few pupils.

“When we receive our next grant, we plan to build another structure to accommodate more pupils. We have requested additional funds from the regional education directorate, but to no avail,” he says.

The school urgently needs rafters, poles and nails, he says.

“We are appealing to the business community to assist us,” he says.

He says another challenge is that the school is not fenced, which makes it vulnerable to wild animals and criminals.

Sanet Steenkamp


Executive director of education, arts and culture Sanet Steenkamp, when approached for comment yesterday, said no community hostel arrangement at Nankuntwe Combined School has been registered by the Ministry of Education, Arts and Culture and, as such, pupils are not supposed to camp at the school.

“What you are currently seeing is an interim arrangement made by the parents and principal to accommodate pupils during floods. However, at the moment, the floods have subsided, so there is no need for them to reside on the school premises.

“The government, through the regional council, assists them with tents if need be. Whoever has ulterior motives to try and have us construct a community hostel at Nankuntwe Combined School should forget about it,” she said.

Steenkamp said to address accommodation challenges on the floodplain, the ministry is currently constructing a multimillion-dollar hostel at Schucmansburg to accommodate pupils from surrounding schools.

She said the hostel would be completed in October and pupils would be accommodated from the beginning of next year.

“Additionally, plans to unearth the Nankuntwe, Muzii and Mpua­kano schools are underway, as we have received N$26 million from the disaster risk management budget through the Office of the Prime Minister.

“We have also set aside N$70 million from our budget towards the unearthing of these schools to be accessible during floods,” she said.
Questions sent to regional education director Joseph Kawana yesterday went unanswered.

The post 190 Nankuntwe pupils sleeping outside appeared first on The Namibian.

Current track