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Namibian tent school receives upgrade in container classrooms  | Coastweek

WINDHOEK (Xinhua) -- Staff members of Ohlthaver and List (O&L) Group of Companies pose for a group photo with students at the Monte Christo Primary Project School in Windhoek, Namibia, July 12, 2017. A section of classroom [right] that was donated at the Monte Christo Primary Project School. The school which has been housed in temporary tents and has a total of 439 learners received a donation of two container classrooms equipped with standard classroom facilities. XINHUA PHOTO: BERNY BAISAKO
Namibian tent school receives upgrade in container classrooms

WINDHOEK (Xinhua) -- To Elizabeth Murangi, school principal of Monte Christo Primary Project School in the Namibian capital, the arrival of two container classrooms on Wednesday means her students will be able to study indoors.

“This is a great transformation,” said Murangi, whose school has been housed in temporary tents in the informal settlement of Havana in the capital.

“We have been conducting our lessons for grades one to three from temporary tents to meet the education needs as population escalates in the area in the face of infrastructure shortages,” she said.

Gerard Vries, Director of Education, Arts and Culture in the Khomas Region, said that the influx of people to the Havana informal settlement led the education ministry to accommodate learners in tents classrooms, while it builds three permanent schools to absorb the ever growing population of learners.

More than 110,000 people are living in informal settlements in Windhoek, with an estimated close to 100,000 living in Havana alone, according to Namibia Statistics Agency.

But teaching in tents, according to Murangi, comes with many challenges.

“For instance, we are now in winter, the children, when in tents get exposed to adversity of weather variability. Not only is that, but it is also costly, and we face technical difficulties in setting up a conducive classroom environment in a tent. But nevertheless, we have to groom and educate the children,” she added.

Handing over the container classrooms, Sven Thieme, executive chairman of the Ohlthaver and List (O&L) Group of Companies, said that the donation of container classrooms forms part of the efforts to address teaching infrastructure shortage in the central region.

The container classrooms are equipped with standard classroom facilities.

Receiving the donation on behalf of the Minister of Education, Arts and Culture, Veno Kauaria, Deputy Permanent Secretary of Lifelong Learning in the Ministry said that the establishment of tents and prefabricated structures are a result of the high demand for school spaces in the highly populated area.

“Over the years, the ministry has been battling with insufficient funds to meet the implementation of its capital projects. The donation of containerized classrooms will therefore make a huge difference in creating a conducive teaching and learning environment for the less privileged groups of society,” said Kauaria.

Meanwhile, plans are underway to construct permanent schools for children now taught in tents.

Back at the school, by noon, the students moved to their new classrooms.

“The learners are beaming with hope and smiles. They got to experience firsthand about how it feels being in an indoor classroom, a first for all of them,” said Murangi.

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