Gwelutshena Secondary School in ward 4 of Nkayi has over the past five years, suffered under lack of support to complete the only classroom block at the school’s premises. The poor and/or nonexistent infrastructure in the school is threatening the welfare of learners during periods of adverse weather conditions, chiefly in winter and during rainy seasons. Apart from the only classroom block is a makeshift structure made of wood and grass that can barely provide any protection from the vagaries of bad weather.
That the school has somehow endued and survived by the skin of its teeth for over five years is a miracle on its own. With an average of 250 students, Gwelutshena has produced candidates sitting for Ordinary level examinations yet it has no single finished block and only has one staff cottage where all staff members have to be accommodated, which may be catastrophic in the Covid 19 era.
Learning takes place under trees at the nearby primary school where a thatched compound classes composed of mixed form learners are the order of the day.
Community Podium spoke to the Councilor of ward 4, Vinika Ncube on the status quo and she bared her soul, explaining how the school is making too little, painstaking progress at a frustrating snail pace.
“The school is an Annex for Hlanganani Secondary School where candidates go for camping during examination periods. Only one block has been partially built over the past five years and the block is devoid of windows and has no roofing hence unfit for purpose. Pleas have been made to various stakeholders for assistance but to no avail. Learners tend to shun schooling in the cold and wet seasons when the conditions are too harsh for out-door learning,” added the councilor.
The infrastructure at the school is inadequate and out of condition for learning purposes as its comatose state flies in the face of the right to education enshrined in section 75 of the Constitution.
A student at the school who spoke on condition of anonymity related the plight of learners at the school. He revealed that in addition to lack of infrastructure, the school is also plagued by a shortage of teachers and that attributable to these twin challenges, students learn in mixed forms. Thus, a teacher can be teaching a class with form ones, form twos and form threes all at the same time.
“We learn in mixed forms because the teachers are few. We use tree shades and sometimes we are packed into one classroom at Gwelutshena Primary. However, during the rainy season I do not come to school at all. As learners, we shudder to think about the looming rainy season,” said the learner.
The School Development Committee Chairperson of Gwelutshena Secondary, Mr Morrison Ndlovu expressed grave concern on the welfare of students in his area and the alleged reluctance of responsible authorities in terms of improving the only secondary school at Gwelutshena Centre.
“The school enrolls students from Form One to form four and teachers are committed and hard-working. They do their best to teach our children in spite of the makeshift accommodation. Also, the prevalent water problems in the area do not help matters. As a result of the poor infrastucture, students drop out and some teachers are frustrated to the point of seeking greener pastures at better schools. We have one incomplete block and one cottage that has been standing for too long. Our appeal is directed to any well wishers who can help out in any way they can. We also call upon the authorities to consider developing this school in order to secure the future of our children,” he said.
Gwelutshena Secondary School is in dire need of help. Yet another generation risks going to waste as the amount of learning time being lost especially during the rainy season is staggering. The pandemic has also compounded the situation by causing schools to close for lengthy periods.
Source: Community Podium