Mud schools mess

The mud classrooms are collapsing at Ntsizwa Senior Secondary School in Mount Ayliff. Picture: Lubabalo Ngcukana
The mud classrooms are collapsing at Ntsizwa Senior Secondary School in Mount Ayliff. Picture: Lubabalo Ngcukana

The Eastern Cape provincial government has again pushed back the deadline for eradicating mud schools  to 2022. Mud schools should have been eradicated nationally by November 2016.

City Press has been reporting for many years on the plight of learners in the province who are being taught in mud structures. Take a look:

Broken promises, broken dreams

It has been 13 years since the provincial education department promised to build the pupils of Dingana Junior Primary School outside Lusikisiki a proper school, but so far it has only built two sets of toilets, leaving hundreds of small children studying in a dilapidated and dangerous mud structure.

To our surprise, three years ago the department came in and built toilets, and that was the last we heard from them. I don’t know whether our children are expected to learn in the toilets or what. This is an insult.
Sebenzile Bhekabantu, school governing body chairperson

Inga Gogela and her fellow Grade 10 pupils are taught in the mud block of their school. Sticks protrude from the classroom walls like the ribcage of a malnourished greyhound. Storms have battered the mud walls. Gaping holes in them serve as ventilation on hot summer days, but are a curse on windy, rainy days and in winter.

When it rains we get wet, even though we’re inside the classroom, because the roof leaks all over. When it’s windy you can feel the structure moving, it is scary. Our lives are at risk.
Grade 10 pupil Inga Gogela

At Nyangilizwe Senior Secondary in Libode, pupils take turns standing guard for friends outside broken toilets with no doors. At the nearby Ntapane Senior Secondary, the average class size is more than 120 pupils – eight of whom cram together at desks designed for three.

These conditions are the same ones I went through myself when I was a learner 50 years ago.
Zakes Mda, author and playwright

Read the full package here.

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July 2020

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