Saturday, 29 June 2019

FIVE TEACHERS FOR 141 PUPILS SHOCKS MP


A VISIT to a secondary school in Umzingwane by local Member of Parliament Brigadier-General (retired) Cde Levi Mayihlome last Friday led to a shocking discovery that it only has five teachers against an enrolment of 141.

The discovery was made last week when Cde Mayihlome visited Irisvale Secondary School in Ward 13 to donate Mathematics and Science text books he recently sourced from friends and associates in the capital.

There were also reports of a shortage of housing for teachers, lack of water at the school which could lead to a health crisis as well as a complete lack of laboratory equipment at the school which was built by the community.

Ahead of the textbook presentation, Cde Mayihlome held a meeting with the school’s head Mr Thembelani Mpofu, local Councillor Cde Jabulani Makhala, District Officer Mrs Tafadzwa Malausi, District Development Officer Mr Nhlanhla Magagula and various other Government and rural council officials during which the visiting party was told of the dire teacher shortage at the school.

According to Mr Mpofu, the school’s enrolment is 141 pupils yet it only has five teachers who have been forced to teach two subjects each in an effort to give their students a better education. Of the five teachers, only one is a female while the school has an enrolment of 53 girls, a situation that shocked the officials who expressed concern at the lack of adequate gender support to the girl child at the school.

“My school has 141 pupils but I only have five teachers of which only one is a female. Each teacher has been forced to teach two subjects which is not ideal at this level. In addition to that, the one female teacher is under immense pressure to provide support for the girl child at the school. We have 53 girls at the school but only one teacher to provide support,” revealed Mr Mpofu.

“We also do not have any water source at the school which could lead to health issues. There is no water source near the school, we have no accommodation for our teachers and at the moment they are renting rooms at houses owned by the District Development Fund,” said the headmaster.

Cde Mayihlome expressed shock after he was briefed about the school’s problems despite being situated in a resettlement area that is more than 30 years old. The Member of Parliament said he would actively pursue the improvement of the school including the establishment and furnishing of a Science lab and the provision of more teachers with a gender balance.

“This is hard for me to comprehend. Five teachers for a secondary school and only one female. How does that work? To make matters worse, this school is in a community that was established more than 30 years ago,” said Cde Mayihlome.

“We need to make sure that a plan is devised for the provision of water, building of cottages for our teachers and the building and furnishing of a Science lab. We also need to make sure that more female teachers are recruited,” he said.

After meeting the Headmaster, Cde Mayihlome handed over Science and Mathematics textbooks to the school at a presentation held in the presence of several parents. He urged the parents to ensure that their children enrolled and received an education which is a more tangible legacy than material wealth.

“I urge you to continue to take your children to school. I urge you to pay fees or make arrangements with the school to offset debts through working at the school. I also urge you to make sure that the girl child is given an equal opportunity to get an education. This I say because I have been told by the headmaster that girls are not being enrolled and this worries me,” said Cde Mayihlome.

Meanwhile, the school’s headmaster revealed that despite the teacher crisis, the school has managed to up its Ordinary Level pass rate from 7 percent in 2017 to 44,4 percent in 2018. He asked the MP to help in the construction of cottages for teachers after which the school will approach teacher training colleges for student teachers to be assigned to the school to ease pressure on present teaching staff. Sunday News 

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