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No action yet to deal with Mogale problems

TSAONE BASIMANEBOTLHE
Students taught under a tree at Mogale JSS PIC: KENNEDY RAMOKONE
Even though Mogale Junior Secondary School (JSS) teachers petitioned the chief education officer, Abram Molelowabadimo for Jwaneng/Mabutsane over their welfare and that of students, little has been done so far to address their concerns.

This week, Mmegi visited the school, which is in Maokane village, 30 kilometres from Jwaneng.

After the 30 kilometre drive on a dirty road, the Mmegi team was greeted by the sight of students clustered under trees with their teachers. One of the Form 1 classes seemed to be idling, trying to locate a spot to settle on because the three trees in the school were already occupied by other classes.

The only change at the school following the petition is a caravan erected next to the staff room, which can accommodate only two out of the nine classes that are being taught outside. The situation means seven classes will still be taught outside under harsh weather conditions. The Mmegi team also observed that some students were sharing textbooks while others had no exercise books at all.

“We do not have blackboards and chalks to write notes for students. Honestly, we do not know how we are expected to teach. It seems the Ministry of Education has forgotten about this school.

As you can see in the hall there are six classes, and it is not partitioned. It is difficult for teachers to teach in such a hall.  Each class has 40 to 60 students which is a lot,” said a concerned source.

Teachers, through a petition handed over to the Jwaneng-Maputsane chief education officer on February 1, 2020, complained that the school continued to admit more students without upgrading the infrastructure.

“Theoretically the school is termed to be 15 stream operating under two heads of two houses, whereas on the ground it is operating as an 18 stream as in house arrangement, the school in essence or numerically, is a 21 stream with an enrolment of 830 students. The expected enrolment of the school for the Form 1 classes for 2019 is 341, next year we expect the student population to increase to 909 students,” part of the petition reads.

The teachers are demanding that government convert the school into a 21 stream with immediate effect and also recommend that some villages should not be their feeder schools. These are Ralekgetho, Gasita and Pitseng.

The petition also stated that the increasing number of students create challenges and as a result teachers find themselves with excessive workload, which increases tension in the workplace, leading to increasing levels of stress and burn out.

The petition states that there is a caravan used as base rooms for Form 1 classes, which does not have doors and windows. Furthermore, the caravan is an accident waiting to happen as it has exposed electrical cables and a dilapidated ceiling in all areas, which is a serious health hazard for both students and teachers.

In 2016, the pass rate for the school was 19%, in 2017 it was 11%, 2018 10.6% and 2019 16.8%. The school does not have

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books and teachers do not have preparatory material for lessons.

On the issue of hostels the boarding facilities are crowded. For example, actual hostel capacity is 192 but currently it houses 387 girls and each dorm has 16 students instead of eight and boys’ hostels actual capacity is 192 but currently it has 372.

The teachers also complained, amongst others, of health issues such as extra-pulmonary tuberculosis, which they say so far affected four teachers, due to the filth brought about by poor drainage system, which poses a serious health threat to both students and teachers.

The petition seeks to emphasise the importance of staff welfare in human resource management in all education institutions. Regarding tuberculosis the petition reads: “About four teachers are experiencing this factor, when they cough the fluids that come out containing blood. When blowing their nose also the mucus comes with extraction of blood. Though we have some other members of staff living in brick houses, it does not mean that the houses are in good condition. There is inadequate accommodation, our school finds it difficult to use the Housing policy and adhere to it”.

The teachers complained that there is poor drainage system in each and every house, which remains a hazard to the entire staff and even the community at large.

“For a very long time we have been neglected by the highest authorities. Former design and technology teacher lost two fingers whilst at work and one was assaulted by a student using a metal rod.

The sub region has failed to give us moral support. Again we have issues of transfers, 13 teachers have more than five years in the school. We submit and demand that appropriate and rational procedures be taken in edict to curl such incongruities, that is five years should be the maximum stay of each and every employee and be placed in urban centres so as to have room for development in any form,” it stated.  

On issues of promotions and progressions, the teachers say vacant senior posts are filled with teachers from other schools, yet they have proficient, competitive and adept colleagues.

“What rests to be disconcerting is that those that are well off to be promoted are being promoted to the most remote areas. For the past 10 years only five teachers have been promoted. Our school is run by employees, in that case, most of our teachers in the school are in Acting and Coordinating positions, which is totally unfair on the employees. We have cases of teachers not progressing on time which results in them being hit hard on the issues of tax for the late transition,” the petition said.

For his part, Molelowamodimo earlier said they were aware of the problems at Mogale JSS and efforts were afoot to deal with the issues.



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