NGSIP MEDIA RELEASE
Six rural schools in the Opuwo Rural Constituency of the Kunene Region now have new dining halls, kitchens, teachers’ accommodation and ablution blocks. The facilities were built at a cost of N$23, 849,735 through the Namibia-German Special Initiative Programme (NGSIP). The entire newly constructed and rehabilitated infrastructure are now in the hands of the Ministry Education, Arts and Culture. The schools are Okaoko-Otavi, Ombombo, Hungua, Otjitoko and Otjondeka Combined schools.
The infrastructures were funded by the Federal Republic of Germany through the German Development Bank (KfW). As per needs assessment, the Okaoko-Otavi Combined School received a hostel and an informal kitchen, Otjitoko School received a hall, hostel and informal kitchen, Otjondeka School received a new hostel while all others received hostels, informal kitchens, dining halls, teacher accommodation and ablution blocks. Hungua Combined School was the biggest beneficiary where NGSIP build a fully furnished dining hall and kitchen to the total value of N$ 6,332,999 million.
The Minister of Economic Planning and National Planning Commission, Hon. Tom Alweendo supported by former Deputy Prime Minister Dr Libertine Amathila handed over the infrastructure at the Okaoko-Otavi Combined School.
Incidentally, Dr Amathila in 2013 handed over a dining hall with kitchen, laptops and printer to the same school. Hon. Alweendo said the infrastructure backlogs need to be addressed so that all schools meet the basic infrastructure and equipment standards set by the by the Namibian Government. “A commitment to provide all learners with access to quality school infrastructure is a vital component of assuring that all learners have access to their constitutional right that of a basic education,” he said.
Speaking at the event at the Okaoko-Otavi Combined School Head of Cooperation Embassy of the Federal Republic of Germany, Christian Grün revealed that Namibia has become the country with the highest per capita rate of German development cooperation in all of Africa. During the course of the last 26 years Germany committed approximately 840 Mill Euro (almost N$14 billion) to Namibia’s development. “It is not easy to defend this high level of cooperation with the German public and the German political world. Nevertheless, we are determined to do it and to continue at the highest possible level,” Grün stressed.
Grün emphasized that the German support was driven by two motives: “We want to see Namibia develop for the sake of its people; we want to see Namibia develop for the sake of having a democratic, prosperous and stable country in an otherwise somewhat shaky continent.”
“Let me start by reassuring you that Germany of today is fully aware of the fact that the official German rule of Namibia which ended in 1915 with all its atrocities committed against the Herero, the Nama and other communities caused undoubtedly deep wounds and left many scars on the souls of the descendants of the victims of those days,” he added.
Speaking at a joined handover ceremony held at the Ombombo Combined School, the Deputy Minister of Economic Planning and National Planning Commission, Hon. Lucia Iipumbu said the support is in line with the commitments of the Government’s Harambee Prosperity Plan. “As stakeholders our President has called on us to pull in one direction under the Harambee Prosperity Plan and here we are indeed pulling together,” she stressed. "We need to invest more in our education system. Resolving the current challenges at schools requires a concerted effort between government, the private sector and community," said Iipumbu.
She stressed that the new infrastructure will change the way the school going about doing business. She further said the Government is committed to making this goal a reality at all schools, especially in rural areas. Hon. Iipumbu noted that many rural secondary schools performed admirably and, in some cases, even better than some urban schools.
The deputy minister praised the performance of the Ombombo Combined School, the hard work of its teachers, and the involvement of parents in their children’s education. These achievements, the Deputy Minister said, auger well for the region and Namibia, as they are in harmony with the thrust of keeping with the national development agenda. On that note, she encouraged the teachers and learners to keep up their good work and strive to build on the gains achieved already.
German Development Bank (KfW) Country Director, Dr Uwe Stoll emphasized the importance of education for its role in supporting the country’s development and in order for the children to realize their full potential, citing Germany’s sincere commitment to cooperate in the area of education in Namibia. “We believe that education raises a nation. Education is the story about sustainable jobs, about welfare and individual liberty,” he said.
According to Dr Stoll the bank invested approximately 34 million Euros (N$550 million) to more than 200 community projects in seven regions of Namibia, namely Kunene, Khomas, Erongo, Omaheke, //Karas, Hardap and Otjozondjupa. Dr Stoll expressed his hope that the new facilities will improve education and assist the teachers in their teaching efforts. He noted that government’s heavy investment in the education sector is a reflection of the significant attention it places on youth in efforts to eradicate poverty, build citizens and capable leaders to support and maintain national unity and continuous development.
With more pupils from the surrounding villages attending the Ombombo Combined School, Opuwo Rural Constituency Councillor, Kazeongere Zeriapi Tjeundo, who spoke on behalf of the Kunene Regional Governor, Hon. Angelika Muharukua said NGSIP’s intervention would enable the schools to improve the quality of learning. He said: "This is a timely intervention when everyone in the community was losing hope. This partnership between government and the NGSIP has brought back dignity to the schools."
Receiving the infrastructure, Kunene Regional Education Directorate Chief Education Officer, Planning and Development, Ernst Bause said that they will ensure that the infrastructure is well maintained and taken care off. “We would like to assure you that the infrastructure is in good hands,” Bause promised. He said that the Ministry of Education will use subsidies from the Universal Primary Education Funds (UPEF) Education programme for minor renovations on the infrastructure. He announced that since the hostels have been renovated or newly build, the schools should apply for recognition status to receive three meals per day through the Namibia School Feeding Programme. “I can reassure you once the hostels are registered learners will have three meals per day. Please apply and make use of this support,” he pleaded.