It has become apparent that some schools are not ready to operate in accordance with the strict coronavirus (COVID-19) health regulations following disruption to lessons and learners’ school calendar.
Mogale Junior Secondary School (JSS) returned to a new normal that the institution was not ready for, as students are still overcrowded at their hostels.
Each dorm is supposed to accommodate eight students, but currently the dorms have 25 to 26 students.
“At the boys hostel, where the dorm has 25 students, 14 have beds and 15 have no bunk beds. This is so sad because some do not have mattresses and students are forced to sleep on the floor. Our dorms do not have enough beds for students and mattresses,” a source told The Monitor .
“We had hoped the situation could have been addressed before the students arrive. Of course the region has tried to reduce the number of students in hostels, but the situation is still bad because the number of students who stay from far places is high.”
The source complained that in the chilly weather students are forced to take cold baths because only one geyser is functional. In addition, the source said the geysers that had been bought are yet to be installed.
Another source added the school does not have sanitisers and a sickbay in case a student gets sick. Currently, Mogale is operating under double shift.
“Students who come for morning classes have to wait for the same bus that afternoon shift students wait for. The challenge is that some of the students idle and do not practise social distancing while waiting for the buses,” the
Mogale is one of the many schools with dilapidated buildings coupled with a shortage of classrooms and lavatories.
Basic Education Ministry was recently forced to look for funds amounting to P15 million in order to purchase caravans and build toilets for the school.
“During our meetings with teachers and parents two weeks back, we realised that a teacher had 60 students per class. Again some classes are forced to be outside under the trees, something that is not good for them,” Jwaneng/Mabutsane sub region, chief education officer Abram Molelowamodimo said.
“The issue of poor drainage system, allergic reactions, and staff health amongst others will also be addressed. We had to source funds elsewhere to try and address the problem. Again, we have requested to use P40,000 in the maintenance fund budget to maintain existing caravans and some classes.”
Botswana Sectors of Educators Trade Union executive secretary, Tobokani Rari said as a trade union they were concerned about the current situation in schools since many have not complied with COVID-19 health standards.
“As a trade union we are concerned that schools are not ready to be opened. We have tried to engage the director of health services about the issue, but he is not acting. We have more than 15 schools with terrible situations,” Rari said.
He added it was saddening that some teachers are now forced to conduct more classes because the issue of additional teachers was not well addressed.