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Sojwe parents decry dilapidated school

Liakat Kably
Residents of Sojwe and surroundings are complaining about the dilapidated state of Matsheng Community Junior Secondary School.

The situation is so bad that there is overcrowding at both boys and girls hostels.

The hostels are old and major maintenance has not been done at the school for years.

According to a source, both hostels for boys and girls are supposed to accommodate 144 students but the facility currently houses more than 400.

“The situation is so bad because some students end up sleeping on the floor. The District Commissioner, Chief education officer and leaders in the community know about the problem. The school management has requested the Ministry to expand the hostels but nothing has been done,” a source said.

A resident of Sojwe, Chally Kabukabu said because of overcrowding in hostels, any disease could easily infect the students.

“I think it’s time the parents petition the government about this situation. School management has informed all relevant stakeholders, but there is no improvement.

The reason why students do not pass is because of the environment in which they study. Most classrooms do not have windows and desks are very old. I believe the Ministry has neglected this school,” Kabukabu said. Another parent, Mpusetsang Kgathe shared Kabukabu’s sentiments. 

Kgathe also said it was time for parents from Sojwe and neighbouring villages to find ways in which they could help their children.

The area member of parliament (MP) Liakat Kablay said they had written to Ministry of Basic Education on the issue and they were still awaiting response.

“The Ministry knows about this situation. The situation is terrible because at times the numbers at the hostels at times increase to 500. I had told different Ministers to visit our constituencies so that they could see the situation on the ground rather preferring

to get reports from their Permanent Secretaries.

The Permanent Secretaries will always mislead them about some of the issues. The reason why this school is not performing well is because the environment is not conducive for both students and teachers. The school is old,” Kablay said. The MP said some school drainage pipes have long broken down, but they have not been replaced and as a result, there is a bad smell around school environment.

He said the school accommodates students from villages around Sojwe because most of them are more than 10 to 15 kilometres away.

The Minister of Basic Education, Bagalatia Arone said they had sent a technical service team to fact find about the schools and the kind of maintenance that may be required.

“Most of our schools need major maintenance and for some we had awarded tenders and the projects are starting while other tenders will be awarded soon. Some schools of course they need expansion and the tenders for facilities that need expansion will be out soon.

The issue of overcrowding will be unfortunate if it was reported and was not attended to. The Ministry will be forced to act immediately because we do not want those students to experience what Lempu Junior Secondary School students had experienced,” Arone said.

Lempu students displayed abnormal numbness, walking disorder and some seemed to hallucinate. Arone said he would talk to the area MP and his Permanent Secretary about the Matsheng situation.

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