WINDHOEK, Feb. 3 — For years, the Mount View High School community in Babylon informal settlement in Namibia’s capital, Windhoek, have persevered in a dusty learning environment provided by tent classrooms.
School days, under a tent, half of the learners in class occasionally wiped off the dust from exercise books. In front of the tent classroom, a teacher also wades off the dust to comfortably concentrate on finishing her lesson.
This is a typical day of learners taught in tent classrooms in Namibia’s capital Windhoek, as the region battles with infrastructure shortage.
“Teaching in the tents is a battle in a windy area. Learners and teachers are prone to variant climate conditions that would disrupt lessons,” Sean Moller, school principal of Mount View High School, said on Wednesday.
In efforts to address the problem, Namibia’s Ministry of Education, Arts and Culture this week inaugurated a containerized classroom at the school.
“We moved to a containerized classroom, and the struggle of juggling wiping the dust off and concentrating on lessons is history. Finally I can learn in a conducive environment,” said Selma Erastus, a senior secondary learner at Mount View High School.
The containerized classrooms are adjusted and equipped with desks, chairs, chalkboards, air-conditioner and powered with electricity amongst other learning facilities.
Minister of Education, Arts and Culture Katrina Hanse-Himarwa said that the existing infrastructure at the school could not accommodate the nearly 500 learners. Hence, the containerized classroom comes in handy.
Tent schools are not unique to Mount View High School alone, but the shortage of classrooms is prevalent countrywide, the minister said.
“As the demand for classrooms exceeds supply, in cases of emergency, tents and other forms of temporary structures are erected at schools to arrest the situation with the aim of replacing structures as soon as funds permits,” Hanse-Himarwa said.
“The containerized classrooms would address infrastructure deficit especially in informal settlements with rapid population growth due to migration,” she added.
More than 110,000 people are living in informal settlements in Windhoek, figures by Namibia Statistics Agency show.
Multiple stakeholders funded the containerized classroom.
Sven Thieme, executive chairman of the Ohlthaver and List (O&L) Group of Companies, said that many children in Namibia endure many difficulties and weather adversities when taught under trees or tents.
“We thus continue to explore how technology and innovation can help address the shortage of classrooms to fulfill national commitment towards sustainable development through creating conducive schooling environment starting with this containerized classroom to the value of 150,000 Namibian dollars (about 11,043 U.S. dollars),” he said.
Meanwhile, the education minister said that the Ministry had made budgetary provisions for infrastructural development, which remains a priority for the Ministry to create a conducive learning environment for learners.