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Salakae decries bad state of schools

The Member of Parliament for Gantsi North, Noah Salakae has expressed concern over the bad state of schools in his area.

Salakae raised his concern in Parliament on Monday pleading with the Minister of Basic Education, Unity Dow to visit schools in his area to appreciate their condition.

He said there is acute shortage of textbooks for both lower and upper classes at all primary schools in his constituency; classrooms are in a dilapidated state and schools are faced with shortage of food.

“Schools in my area are in a bad state. Classrooms are dilapidated; learners are struggling without enough textbooks and are faced with hunger as there is no food,” Salakae said.

He revealed that some classrooms require minor repairs such as painting, asking when will the Minister grant more autonomy to school heads at primary and secondary schools with a budget to meet their day-to-day basic needs.

Salakae suggested this could be done without passing through regional education offices such as the purchasing of pencils, exercise books, replacement of cooking pots as well as minor maintenance like the replacement of windows.

He also questioned Dow if she was aware that Itekeng Junior Secondary School in Gantsi had a serious shortage of tables and chairs and parents are being asked to assist.

Salakae also wanted to know if they have been budgeted for under the 2017/18 financial year and how much is the proposed budget.

He also wanted to know whether all parents in Botswana are expected to assist or this only obtains in the Gantsi North Constituency.

When answering, Dow stated that she is aware that there is shortage of feeding funds in schools throughout the country because the funds allocated for feeding are usually below what schools require.

She said

the budget allocation for the current financial year is P244 million when the actual budget for feeding for the year is P, 875,171,600 given that a student requires P30 per day.

Dow said the allocation represents 13% of what is needed to adequately provide feeding at schools.

She stated that the shortage of textbooks, food and the dilapidated condition of some classrooms is not because of the process by which schools access finance, but rather the limited finances available.

Dow dismissed reports that there is no food at Itekeng Junior Secondary School saying that what she is aware of is that there is shortage of food due to inadequate budget.

“I am aware that Itekeng Junior Secondary School has a shortage of tables and chairs. The school has been budgeted for P35,000 for furniture and maintenance in the 2017/18 financial year,” Dow said.

She stated that parents have not been asked to assist in the provision of tables and chairs, but they are free to do so.

“We remain grateful to parents for their assistance in the education of their children,” Dow said.

Addressing the matter of granting more autonomy to school heads, Dow said secondary school heads submit annual budgets to the ministry and funds are sub-warranted to them to operate their institutions.

She said the funds cover the running costs of the school including food, stationery, cleaning materials and minor maintenance.

Dow said these funds often prove inadequate for the school and additional funding then has to be sought from headquarters.

She said primary schools have been granted autonomy to utilise and manage funds disbursed for the handyman programme.




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