MOENG: The colourful 70th anniversary celebrations of Moeng College held here Friday, were marred by speakers comments of a crumbling institution with dilapidated structures and academically struggling.
Alumni’s of different classes thronged the school and reminisced about their past experiences. Amongst others ex-president, Festus Mogae, former minister Prince Maele and former Botswana High Commissioner to Namibia, Edwin Matenge.
The unkempt appearance of the secondary school campus, that lies amongst the beautiful and scenic Tswapong hills became an eyesore.
The buildings are as old as the school itself. Some look like they have not felt a paintbrush in decades. Corrugated roofs in the old buildings are corroded.
Ceilings are falling in the classrooms while dormitories are a mess. Ablutions stink and appear hazardous to users.
Speakers did not mince words when highlighting the condition of the environment they live in.
After a moving speech of how they raised funds for the anniversary, the local organising committee chairperson, Letsweletse Garebao decried the sorry state of the school.
He highlighted a plethora of challenges from disabling and dysfunctional infrastructure to students lacking the enthusiasm to excel and the demoralising environment.
“Laboratories are but a shadow of their former selves, classes have potholed floors, traditional chalkboards are falling, and don’t support writing on, windows are shuttered badly or broken, doors are either broken or hang on single hinges,” said Garebao, also mentioning that the staff houses are not habitable.
“Teachers’ houses look like a pig pan. The houses are substandard, inadequate and teachers are crammed in single units in numbers. Blocked pipes are a normalcy. Frequent water, electricity and network outages are familiar phenomena” Garebao, who is also a History teacher, added.
School Representative Council president, Regina Kentse reiterated Garebao’s sentiments. She appreciated the school is sitting in a location favourable for learning, away from hustle and bustle.
She lamented the acute shortage of teaching staff that contributed to Additional Mathematics (Add Maths) not being taught at the school.
“We appreciate the priceless location but challenges are
Other speakers, however, encouraged the staff and students to work harder with the little they have to bring back the school to its glory days. The school had a reputation for producing great academics and leaders that contributed to the development of the country.
Inspirational testimonies were shared by amongst other former students such as Matenge. He paid tribute to teachers of the pre-independence era saying they produced characters that shaped the nation.
He mentioned the likes of former speakers of Parliament Ray Molomo, Moutlakgola Nwako and Seone Khama as teachers who prepared well-rounded students that needed no university qualifications to make massive contributions.
For his part, Botswana International University of Science and Technology vice chancellor, professor Otlogetswe Totolo who was the key note speaker said the school could re-live its remarkable history.
He noted the school was one of the living examples of the nation’s spirit of self-reliance as it was built through community contributions.
“That spirit should prevail and this school will become what it was and produce the type of leaders it was known of producing.”
He advised students to take inspirations from people such as Mogae, former ministers Baledzi Gaolathe and David Magang who went through similar corridors at Moeng College.
“Moeng (College) has a distinctive competitive advantage. It is peaceful and quiet and very conducive for learning. If you set targets and focus on your studies you could become top achievers,” the vice chancellor advised students.
Formerly known as Bammangwato College, Moeng was built in 1947, by the Bammangwato led by Tshekedi Khama. It opened gates for the first batch of students in 1951.