Nqobile Tshili Chronicle Correspondent
PUPILS at some schools in Matabeleland region have stopped going to school while others are collapsing in class because of food shortages caused by the El Nino induced drought.
The worst affected areas include Binga, Tsholotsho, Nkayi, and Lupane.
Parents in Binga have called on the government to introduce school feeding schemes to help keep their children in schools.
Matabeleland North Provincial Education Director, Boithathelo Mnguni, yesterday said the drought being experienced countrywide was taking a toll on pupils in her province. She said recently there was an incident where a child collapsed at school and was taken to clinic, where it was discovered that she had not eaten anything in three days.
“I know of one child who fainted while in school. The pupil was taken to a local clinic and after examinations it was discovered that nothing was wrong with her besides hunger. It was learnt that she had spent three days without eating and was given porridge and regained her strength,” she said.
Mnguni said the situation was being worsened by the fact that some pupils travel long distances to school.
She said they were experiencing hunger-induced absenteeism not school dropouts.
“They are not dropping out of school because dropping out of school means someone is no longer interested in school. They are absent from school because of hunger. We’re recording a lot of absenteeism in schools,” she said.
Mnguni said figures on the affected pupils will only be available at the end of the term.
She said it was her hope that the government will soon embark on a school supplementary feeding scheme.
Addressing educationists in Esigodini, Matabeleland South last Friday, the Minister of Primary and Secondary Education Lazarus Dokora said reforms in the education sector will see feeding schemes being introduced in schools.