Monday, September 20, 2021
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Over 1000 Mwenezi pupils learning in the open

                                  A classroom block at the school
…no
immediate plan to improve desperate conditions

Cephas Shava

MWENEZI – Some
1082 children attending a makeshift primary school in Ward 13 are taking
classes virtually in the open, while their teachers are living in makeshift
pole and mud houses where they are at the mercy of the weather.
This
publication witnessed this sad state of affairs at Tokwe Mukosi Primary School while
covering a tent donation by global children’s welfare organisation Unicef
recently.
The
makeshift school, which is under Chief Chitanga’s area, accommodates children
from families that were displaced by flooding of the Tugwi Mukosi Dam basin
during construction work back in February 2014.
After
noticing the desolate conditions at the school, Unicef went and donated 13 tents
to be used as classrooms and teachers’ shelter.
Seven
of the larger tents will be used as classrooms while five smaller ones will be
used by teachers as houses.
There
are at least four satellite schools in similar circumstances in the Chingwizi
area, all of them conducting classes under the most deplorable conditions
imaginable.
The
schools sprouted almost haphazardly after the floods, with desperate parents
having no alternative place to send their children to school.
They
mainly operate as satellite schools; meaning each of them is under the ambit of
planned and better-resourced schools.
No
final examinations can be taken at satellite school as they are not registered
with the Zimbabwe School Examinations Council (Zimsec) as examination centres.
“This
means when it is time for grade seven exams, pupils have to be registered with
other schools that have Zimsec centre numbers. Proper schools are few here and
travelling is difficult especially for children who have to sit for their
examinations.
“For
the schools to gain full examination centre accreditation, Mwenezi Rural
District Council or government will have to first upgrade them to a set of
minimum standards. We don’t see that happening anytime soon though the
situation is really desperate. Many people in this area are here not out of
their choice. Our stay was not planned but was a result of an accident and that
is why we are suffering,” said one parent.
Tokwe
Mukosi Primary School only has a 1×2 classroom block which is used by grade
seven classes with the rest of the grades learning under tattered shades.
Teachers
at the school said the classroom block was built with the help of a donor who
has since moved on.
Another
parent who spoke to this publication over the phone said satellite schools in
the area have only managed to attract teachers because of the oversupply of
teachers on the job market as well as government’s freezing new recruitments
over the past few years.
“No
qualified teacher would work under these conditions. We have the oversupply of
teachers and the recruitment freeze to thank, though that alone is unfortunate.
Many teachers are desperate for employment and that is why they end up
accepting to take posts wherever they emerge. They have no choice and we feel
for them.
“Getting
clean water to drink is no easy task and you work under stressful conditions
teaching children who are in no better situation,” said the parent.
Accepting
the tent donation, Tokwe Mukosi Primary School head Laimon Matavire said the
intervention meant a lot for the school which he said required any help it
could get.
“We
are thankful for this generous gesture which will help give us some dignity as
a school. Classes are often disrupted by severe weather so we are glad that we
got some assistance,” said Matavire.
Local
ward councillor, Takura Mudavose also thanked the organisation and said more
still needed to be done for the school to reach acceptable standards.
“Like
any others in here in Chingwizi, this school is in a sorry state. There
conditions here are terrible and pupils and teachers are always at the mercy of
the weather.
“On
behalf of the community, I thank Unicef for noticing the problems we face here
and for doing something about it. Let us work together to do more for the
school,” said Mudavose. 
Currently
Tokwe Mukosi Primary has a total enrolment of 1082 pupils under the guidance of
21 teachers.
Local
satellite schools suffering the same terrible conditions include Nyuni Primary
which also has many children learning under makeshift shelter.
Meanwhile,
there is no immediate plan to improve the schools by building decent
accommodation for teachers and classrooms for pupils as council lacks capacity.
 
    
     

TellZimNewshttps://tellzim.com
TellZim News is the leading news organization in the Southern region. It provides candid, balanced and timely news from the communities. Keeping it real. Committed to tell Zimbabwe.

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