By Judith Sibanda
Dete, May 13, 2016 – OVER six months after Makwandala Primary School in Dete was blown off by a gale that left a trail of destruction, government has failed to repair the school with pupils forced to learn in the open.
These developments came despite the District Administration Officer (DEO) for Hwange last month claiming the December situation had been rectified.
“The head told me that parents have contributed some money towards the building of the school block blown away last year, so that has been dealt with already,” Lovemore Ncube, the DEO was quoted saying on April 17.
However, the claims have been disputed by the villagers and the local chief adding that there was an urgent need to save affected pupils and the teachers.
“The students and the teachers conduct all their lessons in scotching heat and last month before they closed, they were on pounding rains. The block was for grade ones and twos and that is what pains most of the parents.
“Imagine very soon we will be in deep colds and the pupils together with their teachers will be expected to conduct lessons under trees while some will be under dilapidated shades,” said Ever Shoko, a parent to one of the grade 3 pupils.
Chief Nekatambe echoed the same sentiments further adding that government needed to intervene.
“I was at the school this morning after some parents consulted me to come and see with my own eyes how the pupils and teachers were conducting their lessons. We appeal to the government or other local mining companies to assist but very soon I will update you because it seems private companies like Makomo Resources is willing to assist after my appeal and I will be meeting with them today.”
Some teachers at the school complained that the infrastructure was not only bad in classrooms but their cottages as well where they were sharing rooms in groups hence affecting production and quality of education.
In a just ended Zimbabwe Teachers’ Association ( Zimta) conference in Victoria Falls, Primary and Secondary Education minister Lazarus Dokora said no teacher was supposed to report to work as long as the infrastructure was not conducive.
“We have eleven teachers staying in one house especially in Matabeleland South and North, in a school that has an enrolment of 300 pupils or more and to me, those teachers are prisoners so the school must be closed and make up your mind. You can’t have such number in one house.
“It’s not viable and it simply means there are no schools there; you can simply turn it into a study group. We can’t call that place a school and l have vehemently taken that to cabinet.
“If we are a power in education, one of the demonstrable evidence is that we should be able to take care of our teachers and even where they will conduct lessons,” said Dokora.
“No school should open without adequate infrastructure for teachers and don’t group them as you like to say these are bachelors and spinsters and they can cohabit.
“Somehow because they are out in the same house, they kind of find each other and when they have found each other, are you guaranteed that they will not lose each other and when that happens, what happens naturally jealousy and violence ensues and ultimately we lose the teachers and my children suffer as well.”