Village school has three teachers and three pit toilets for 116 learners

1 day ago
“It’s really tough but we battle along”

By Chris Gilili

Photo of a classroom with learners in it
Mfunalwazi Primary School in Ncera Village, 30km outside East London, has 116 learners from grade 1 to 7 and only three teachers. Photo: Chris Gilili

Mfunalwazi Primary School in Ncera Village, 30km outside East London, has 116 learners from grade 1 to 7 and only three teachers. The school was established in 1994 but still has three pit toilets and one tap. Some children use an open field to relieve themselves. The floors are broken and the roof leaks when it rains.

Parents and teachers tried to make improvements using their own funds.

“When it rains, the pupils have to mop the floor because water flows in through the roof. It’s really tough, but we battle along,” says school principal Sonwabo Jimane.

Strong winds ripped off the roof of the Grade 7 class. Jimane says it was reported to the Eastern Cape Department of Education who came to assess the damage.

On the shortage of teachers, Jimane says, “I am told that currently the department cannot guarantee any new teacher for us … They said each teacher is supposed to look after 40 learners.”

Spokesperson for the department Malibongwe Mtima said, “The department has allocated a budget for this financial year to fix sanitation related issues at schools around the province. I am not aware of the broken roof situation, but will make sure a follow-up is made.”

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Parents have to build toilets for Eastern Cape school

5 days 23 hours ago
Learners at schools in Cofimvaba have to relieve themselves outside

By Yamkela Ntshongwana and Nombulelo Damba-Hendrik

Photo of a row of children
Boys from Mvuzo Junior Secondary School in Cofimvaba use old, broken toilets, even though they are dangerous. Photo: Nombulelo Damba-Hendrik

Parents at Sidubi Poort Junior Secondary School in Cofimvaba say they have decided to build toilets for their children because the Eastern Cape Department of Education has been dragging its feet for over seven years. Community members have volunteered to do the work.

The current toilets at the school in Ngxingweni village were built in 1984. There are eight pit latrines for the 208 learners and teachers. Some of the toilets are full and the seats are broken. Children and teachers have to relieve themselves in the bush outside the school premises.

Teachers say the education department first promised to fix the toilets in 2012, but keeps on postponing. “When we first asked for toilets, the teachers’s toilets were still in better condition … [Now] we are also forced to go to those bushes to relieve ourselves,” said a teacher.

A member of the School Governing Body, who did not wish to be named, said, “Teachers are supposed to be well respected people. Then tell me if they relieve themselves in bushes where is their dignity? … We can’t just sit because government is failing our children and teachers.”

“These bushes are far from the school and when learners go to them, they have to go in numbers, at least four of them for safety reasons,” said a teacher.

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Lottery money goes to waste as school falls apart

1 week 6 days ago
R28.3 million handed over to a boxing promoter with no experience in construction

By Kaizer Nengovhela and Raymond Joseph

5 October 2018

Photo of plaque
This plaque was unveiled during Vhafamadi High School’s official opening in December 2016. The shoddy workmanship is clear from this photo, including the fact that the plaque has not even been cemented permanently in place almost two years later. Photo: Raymond Joseph

A school in Vuwani in Limpopo that was rebuilt less than two years ago with a R28.3 million Lotto grant is falling apart because of structural problems.

Nineteen months after the school was opened with great fanfare, parts of the buildings are unsafe to use as they have developed cracks and other serious structural problems.

At least a third of the new classrooms and parts of the administration centre have been cordoned off with tape to block access to unsafe areas. Makeshift lintels supported by wooden poles have been erected to support parts of buildings that are in danger of collapsing.

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Community schools in Egypt: lessons on what works, and what doesn't

2 weeks 4 days ago
Community schools reach otherwise unschooled children. Ray Langsten

Many countries across the world have made promises of “education for all” – providing quality education to all children of school-going age.

One approach being used to meet the education for all goal is community-based education, or community schools. These alternative education models, initiated by governments and non-governmental organisations, provide primary education in communities that generally lack school infrastructure.

The schools are typically small, organised by a community and the instructors are often locally recruited without formal teaching credentials. The curriculum is simplified and locally-relevant – for instance in the language people actually use, dealing with problems students confront in their daily lives.

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