NGSIP MEDIA RELEASE
Gam Combined School authorities have appealed for funds to build a second hostel for primary school learners at the settlement, while the one currently under construction with the support of the Namibian-German Special Initiative (NGSIP) is almost nearing completion.
The school, which has now been divided into the Gam Primary and Gam Secondary schools respectively, received financial support from the NGSIP when it was still a combined school. A school board member, Lucas Kandjii says that although they are very much thankful for the gesture of support from the NGSIP, they still feel that there is a need to mobilise additional funds for the construction of a second separate hostel for primary school learners.
The combined school, which mostly caters for San children and those of Herero returnees from Botswana at Gam, has also been divided into primary and junior secondary schools with separate school administrations, although they are closely situated.
Kandjii explains that as of to date they are still baffled why the school has been divided into a primary and a secondary school.
According to him when they applied for support from the NGSIP the school was still a combined institution and under the project proposal they submitted, they only requested for one hostel to be built for both primary and secondary school learners.
But, with an increased enrolment at the school they were left with no choice, but to consider building a second separate hostel for primary school learners.
“Unfortunately, this facility was not part of the initial request submitted to the NGSIP and therefore we would appreciate it very much if our German partners can make additional funds available to construct the envisaged hostel,” he pleads, adding that they have also approached other partners for financial support in this regard.
He says that in terms of the current NGSIP project, which includes a hostel block, the new facility once completed would provide the learners with an extraordinary change of life in terms of ease access to education and a healthy environment.
“Children living in these rural areas, who are usually relegated to enduring long travel times from their homes, will now stay on the school premises and access daily education, food and stability,” he says.
“Currently we have only this hostel still under construction at the secondary school site. But, we would have loved if the primary school learners had their own separate hostel,” he adds.
He says that the younger kids cannot be accommodated in the same hostel as the older ones because of peer pressure and other issues that the younger learners should not be exposed to.
He thus appeals to the NGSIP to consider extending their current support so that a second hostel can be built for the primary school learners.
“We would appreciate further support from the NGSIP if there are still funds available or any other support to come in to build this hostel,” he stresses.
He, however, adds that since mobilising for local support from businesses and individuals might take ages, they feel that it is best for the NGSIP to just continue and complete the process of building a separate hostel for primary school learners as the school is now divided into two separate independent entities.
The hostel and hall for this school were initiated in 2009, but the contractors failed to deliver on their contractual obligations and were either terminated or dismissed by the NGSIP.
But the current contractor, Rydocs is on course to complete the project in a record time.
Chris Muatjetjeja, the principal of the Gam Secondary School, says he is very happy about the NGSIP support, despite the fact that it has taken some time to complete the construction of the school facilities.
"I think these structures once completed have the potential to make a big difference in the lives of our pupils. Before the building of new hostels, our pupils faced major challenges”.
He says that before coming to the hostel for boarding, children in these traditional pastoralist communities were forced to go back home and look after the cattle and small livestock of their families and at the same time also had to wake up very early every day, to prepare and travel long distances to school.
According Muatjetjeja, the new school premises once completed and handed over to the Otjozondjupa Directorate of Education would bring together teachers and the requisite educational tools from an array of facilities that would provide the learners with a rich educational experience along with a structured and close knit community.
Muatjetjeja, however, points out that the hostel will not be free like education. He says another reason for the shift to a boarding environment is the stability that it offers the children, particularly those who come from difficult or complex home environments.
“The construction currently underway and nearing completion is a blessing for the community as the Government is not providing funding for dormitories at schools,” he says.
According to him the first contractor was hired through Government and the fact that the tender process takes long, the entire exercise of completing the construction in time was delayed.
“Kids that often thrive in this type of environment are those that don’t have a stable home life and want some structured routine in their lives and that is what the situation is like now at Gam,” he says.
He explains that the vast majority of the learners at the two schools are children of Namibian repatriates from Botswana and the San community.
Muatjetjeja concludes that his school’s desire is to ensure that they are able to forge ahead and provide the best education to the learners through partnerships with various stakeholders. "We want to continue with our partnerships with the NGSIP and other role players."
Some of learners at Gam Secondary School expressed their thanks to the NGSIP for the initiative and said that staying in a boarding environment will improved their manners and helped them to become more independent.
“It may be true that some people work more easily in a structured and controlled environment that a good preparation for higher education,” said Mbai Veruirouhona a Grade 11 learner at the Gam Secondary School.
She too, thank the NGSIP for the support and hopes that the new facilities will contribute to their performance.