With the rainy season approaching in a few months, hundreds of pupils in Nkayi district schools in Matabeleland North province are bracing for a fresh wave of harsh learning conditions when schools reopen.
Several classroom blocks, toilets and teachers’ cottages are dilapidated and in urgent need of rehabilitation. Over the years, during rainy seasons, pupils have been forced to crowd in classrooms without a leak, compromising the learning process.
Community leaders say the poor state of infrastructure has dogged the district for years and the situation is getting worse. This has had a direct bearing on the perennial poor pass rate. A survey conducted by this crew established that about nine schools need urgent attention as they lack key infrastructure. Villagers and local opinion leaders are appealing for resources to uplift the standards of the educational institutions to enable a conducive learning environment.
Nkayi’s Ward 12 Councillor Elvis Nkomo who is also a villager in the area says some schools are made of mud bricks.
“At Sebhumane some children learn in the open under trees and this has been going on for too long. The school needs about two classroom blocks to resolve that crisis. Sikhobokhobo Primary School also has classroom blocks made of mud bricks and have now developed cracks posing a serious danger to the learners and teachers. There is a need for the reconstruction of those classroom blocks.
The schools already had a shortage of two blocks forcing children to crowd in some classrooms or learn under trees,” Ward 12 Councillor Nkomo said.
He said the problem of ablution facilities and teachers’ cottages applies to most schools. At Sikhobokhobo Secondary, Clr Nkomo said one classroom block has been completed recently through the Constituency Development Fund.
At Ekukhanyeni secondary, toilets collapsed four years ago and the school was still in need of the crucial facility, however, teachers’ cottages are reportedly in a better state. Former Nkayi Rural District Council’s chairperson Kufakwezwe Ncube said in Ward 29 there are four schools, two primary and two secondary schools namely Dimpamiwa, Mathendele primaries, Nkayi High and Hlangabeza High School respectively.
“All these schools have not received any help except Mathendele Primary which had a borehole drilled for it by Unicef recently.”
However, Matabeleland North Provincial Education Director Mr Jabulani Mpofu said he could not substantiate the
“claims” over the state of the schools.
“I cannot comment on those schools because I am not sure if that is true, but what I know is that all schools are having boreholes drilled and those schools without enough classroom blocks were given tents. Curitus (NGO) is there in Nkayi, currently drilling boreholes and according to the Education spokesperson all schools were being assisted with water boreholes in preparation for opening.” — The Citizen Bulletin