OPUWO: A Grade Six learner at the Omuhama Primary School has been expelled from that school’s hostel for allegedly causing a hostel block to burn down after connecting his cellphone to solar panels to charge late last month.
The 18-year-old Tjikume Mupeu’s parents were informed that he was being expelled from the hostel last Thursday after the school management made the decision to do so at a meeting held earlier that same day.
The acting principal of the Omuhama Primary School, Charles Katjihingua told Nampa on Thursday this week that Mupeu sneaked out of class on 27 July this year at around 11h10.
He went to the girls’ hostel block, where he connected his cellphone to a solar panel in an attempt to charge its battery.
“We don’t know what happened, as he left the cellphone there and returned to class. We suspect that the battery was overcharged and caught fire, which spread to the inside of the hostel block,” explained Katjihingua.
He said the Namibian Police were informed of the incident.
They visited the school on the same day, took photos of the damage caused and promised to return and conduct further investigations. No case has, however, been opened against the learner yet.
Mupeu was questioned at the school and by his parents, and admitted that he was responsible for causing the fire.
“First of all, cellphones are not allowed on the school grounds. Secondly, he connected the cellphone to the solar panels illegally.
What made it worse was that this was during school hours and at the girls’ hostel block, which was enough reason to suspend him from the hostel,” the acting principal indicated.
The block where the fire broke out accommodated 34 girls.
The learners lost all their belongings, including bedding, clothes, toiletries, books and stationery, in addition to their mattresses having been destroyed and beds damaged.
The 34 girls are now staying in cramped conditions in another girls’ hostel block until their block is renovated.
Meanwhile, they have received donations from the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Namibia (ELCIN) based in the Omuhama Village, as well as from members of the community and the Office of the Governor of the Omusati Region, Sophia Shaningwa.
These donations include second-hand clothes, six mattresses and some bedding.
According to Katjihingua, Mupeu is still attending school at Omuhama, as learners are busy with examinations.
Mupeu is from the Ourunduwozombara village, situated about nine kilometres south of the Omuhama school.
The Omuhama Primary School is situated south of Opuwo, and falls under the Onesi Education Circuit.