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Edward Garoeb Primary School transfers still in the pipeline: Steenkamp

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The Ministry of Education, Arts and Culture is still planning on moving staff and learners from Edward Garoeb Primary School at Anker settlement to Fransfontein due to the frequent earthquakes experienced in the area. Many of the staff members were […]

The Ministry of Education, Arts and Culture is still planning on moving staff and learners from Edward Garoeb Primary School at Anker settlement to Fransfontein due to the frequent earthquakes experienced in the area.

Many of the staff members were moved to Fransfontein after an earthquake at Anker three years ago, but they were recalled at the beginning of this year. On Sunday however, an earthquake with a magnitude of 5.4 on the Richter scale was recorded at Anker, prompting new fears from staff that they are being exposed to dangerous working conditions.

One of the teachers at the school who spoke on condition of anonymity said, “I am afraid to go back to Anker. About nine staff members have left and came back to Fransfontein. I have health problems and the way the earthquakes take us by surprise makes me fear that I might have a heart attack.”

The Executive Director of the Ministry of Education, Arts and Culture, Sanet Steenkamp, told Nampa in an interview on Tuesday the ministry is aware of the situation.

“It is unfortunate that after the principal called back the staff for duty from Fransfontein’s Frans Frederick Primary School, where they were relocated due to the first earthquake, another earthquake has hit the settlement,” she said.

Steenkamp however said their plans to move the school body to Frans Frederick PS are also being hampered by parents who have refused to move their children to Fransfontein, which is situated 85 kilometres from Anker.

“This also affects the process of transferring staff to other schools because the learners that stay behind at Anker have to attend classes somehow,” she said.

A meeting is planned which will include the education ministry, office of the governor, regional councillor, staff members as well as parents to discuss the matter of parents refusing to send learners to Frans Frederick PS.

“Staff members who want to be transferred to other schools can then again make arrangements for the ministry to work out logistics and all necessary arrangements if they feel it is unsafe to stay at Anker, although the transfer process is in the pipeline and will take some time,” said Steenkamp.

Steenkamp added that due to the state of the hostel block because of earthquakes, learners will be not be allowed to stay in the hostel at Edward Garoeb PS as it might have to be demolished and rebuilt in the future. The ministry has instead arranged for learners to stay with their parents and be provided with meals three times a day.

Source: Namibia Press Agency

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