There was commotion yesterday at Oodi Primary School, on the outskirts of Gaborone, when the school initially refused to register about 22 Standard One pupils stating that they had already reached the approved limit for the school.
When asked for comment in this matter, the school head Dinah Buisanyang said that she is guided by the Ministry of Education's establishment registers for primary schools of 2008/09. "The policy has always been there and it states that this school can only take up to 600 students. It is only that this is the first time that this has happened in this school," she said.
She revealed that the school heads attended a regional meeting held in Gaborone last Friday where it was emphasized that the school abide by the established register for primary schools. "The limit is also guided by the resources that the school has. If we admit more students those resources might be over stretched," she said. She further revealed that she has held consultations and the school will now register all the standard ones but those transferring from other schools will have to try their luck at Matebeleng village.
When Mmegi visited the school, the affected parents and their children were huddled at the administration block waiting for any hopeful response from the school authorities. "We were even here yesterday and they told us that they do not have any more space for more students. They said the Ministry of Education has placed a limit to the number of the students they are supposed to admit into the school which is 600 and they have reached that limit," explained 26-year-old Tshegofatso Setshogo. She revealed that they have been advised to take their children to the next school, which is in the neighboring village Matebeleng. "These children are too small to walk or even to travel alone by public transport that far. I cannot even afford to pay the school bus the P250 a month as I am
The situation has also affected those who wanted to transfer their children who are in higher classes from other schools. Boitumelo Gaelebale said she had taken transfer cards without first establishing a vacancy for her children and was now left between a hard rock and a wall. She said that she has been told that even though there are other students who have transferred from the school, her children cannot be admitted to fill-in those vacancies. "The school head told us that they have registered many standard ones and they are the ones who will be filling the vacancies of those who are being transferred from the school so that they reach the 600 limit that has been set for this school," she said. "I earn a living by selling sweets and cannot afford to pay transport of about P250 for two children every month," she added.
49-year-old Kenosi Segokgo also stood fixated at the administration wall, as his son who is to start standard four could not be admitted at the school. He was schooling at Camp School in Gaborone last year. "I transferred him because I was laid off my job in December and could no longer afford to pay for his transport to Gaborone which is P400 a month," he said. The village councilor who was also at the school, said that the school was not in a position to send away students citing shortage of space. "We would understand if they say there is a shortage of classrooms because there are four classrooms, outstanding which are supposed to be built here," he said. However he said he was happy that all beginners have been registered to start school.