Gaborone Mayor Kagiso Thutlwe has called on parents not to enrol their children in over-subscribed primary schools.
Thutlwe also called on primary schools to admit only the permitted number of pupils to avoid problems including health hazards.
“We are experiencing over-subscription in five primary schools with more than 880 pupils in a school, which is a permissible enrolment standard school. These are Ben Thema with 1,068, Masa 1,030, Mophane 1,057, Lesedi 1,077, Tshwaragano 1,050, Ithuteng 1,055 and Tlhabologo 968,” Thutlwe said yesterday at a Gaborone City Council (GCC) meeting.
He told councillors that over-subscription in schools comes with challenges like shortage of classroom space, outdoor teaching, shortage of teacher accommodation, amongst others. The mayor said they have 705 teachers, but they only have 326 quarters, which causes over-utilisation of resources.
He continued: “Although our prerogative mediations are greatly helping the situation, funds are not adequate to cater for all affected schools. You will recall here that only three schools out of the seven-listed above were attended to, which include Mophane, Masa and Ithuteng”.
In May this year, classroom and ablution blocks for Ithuteng, Mophane and Masa were handed over by the Minister of Local Government and Rural Development, Slumber Tsogwane to the users.
However, the mayor said construction of additional facilities is not the solution and therefore he encouraged all schools to admit only the recommended number of pupils which is 880. He said though parents consider distance and performance
On other issues, the mayor said only 14 out of 29 schools have reception classes.
“This is on account of the fact that there are no classrooms built specifically for reception classes at the moment due to limited funds and the remaining schools have challenges of space for reception classes. I know this is a requirement, but would like to plead with parents for patience on this matter,” he said.
Thutlwe added that he is worried after learning that there is a primary school operating illegally in Block 6, Gaborone. He said the Education Act says no person shall own a school or give regular instruction at a school unless the school is registered.
The mayor said the district has a high number of illegally operating daycare centres and the common factors being issues of land use, untrained teachers, unauthorised children institutions (overnight/sleep over services) and overcrowding of children. “This is aggravated by the paltry P100 fee that is charged as penalty for breaching the by-laws.
Offenders continue to operate illegally despite the charge without adherence to renewal of licences,” he said. He said out of a total of 84 daycare centres that have been licensed for 2017, 20 have not renewed their licences while nine are operating illegally.