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- Have not been refurbished for over 10 years
- Learners use open, filthy dilapidated toilets
- NWDC cites lack of funds
- Schools also experiencing shortage of stationary and food
Authorities in the North West District have revealed that it has been over 10 years since some Primary Schools in the area were last maintained, and have since surpassed the recommended maintenance cycles leading to dilapidated infrastructure.
Besides the bad state of infrastructure, the schools are also experiencing dire shortage of stationary and food, with parents informed through their children to buy books and print homework handouts.
During a visit to one of the schools in Maun, this publication found a situation where standard three pupils were taught in a dilapidated classroom that had a filthy toilet on the side. The learners complained of mosquitoes bites while also fearing the building may be a hiding place for deadly snakes.
In the same school, pupils are forced to relieve themselves in filthy open toilets without doors, an environment that is against the acceptable hygiene standards for a school to accommodate leaners.
It has since become apparent that most primary schools face similar challenges in the area.
The North West District Council (NWDC) public relations officer, Tsholofelo Mogale has confirmed the bad state of classrooms in almost all the schools, which he attributes to unavailability of funds.
Responding to a questionnaire, Mogale acknowledged that most schools have passed the recommended cycles of maintenance period of five years, adding that most of them were last maintained in the 2014/15 financial year.
The NWDC is responsible for the maintenance of more than 40 primary schools across the district.
The PRO has however indicated that council is currently undertaking maintenance at some of the primary school facilities in Maun, adding that schools also undertake minor maintenance works from the funds they are allocated at the beginning of the financial year for minor repairs under the handyman provision.
Furthermore, Mogale revealed that a request has been made to the Ministry of Local Government and Rural Development for funds to maintain some of the primary school facilities in the 2024/25 financial year.
He also only confirmed the challenge of stationary shortage, but denied council ever requesting parents to buy books for students. Instead, Mogale revealed that the delivery of stationery and consumables to schools is currently ongoing having already been delivered to nine primary schools in Maun namely, Matlapana, Boseja, Kubung, Andrew Wellio, Boyei, Ghxabara, Matlola, Bonatla and Disaneng.
The plan he added is to subsequently deliver the same to Mathiba, Moremi, Thamalakane, Letsholathebe and Botswelelo primary schools then others will follow suit.
With regard to food commodities, Mogale stated that currently there is enough food commodities available in primary schools while delivery ongoing.
“Though there is enough, there is unavailability or shortage of beans and sorghum grains in the country which have prompted the ministry to direct councils to procure maize meal and beef stew as substitute meals. The directive is being implemented and pupils are currently fed such,” he indicated.
The PRO further indicated that there is also shortage of UHT Milk in primary schools as the tender is still under evaluation.
“In the meantime, the procurement department has since been engaged to make direct procurement to Food Botswana to supply the council,” Mogale revealed, adding that allocation of egg suppliers to schools will be completed by the 25th January 2024 and will be sent to oversight unit for approval; thereafter supply will commence at schools.