Pamela Shumba Senior Reporter
TSHOLOTSHO North MP Professor Jonathan Moyo on Wednesday handed over $3,000 to Mbiriya Primary School in his constituency to complete a classroom block and electrify teachers’ cottages at the school.
Prof Moyo, who is also the Higher and Tertiary Education, Science and Technology Development Minister, requested Tsholotsho Rural District Council to drill a borehole at the school to address water challenges faced by the community.
The minister visited the school to check on progress on the construction of the $25,000 classroom block.
The project had stalled due to shortage of resources.
The Zimbabwe Prisons and Correctional Services (ZPCS), working with the community and Tsholotsho RDC, is carrying out the construction works.
The school received $5,000 in June last year from Vice President Emmerson Mnangagwa, while Vice President Phelekezela Mphoko weighed in with building materials after pledging to build a classroom block for the school.
Prof Moyo donated $3,000 to buy outstanding building materials.
“VP Mphoko pledged to put together the resources and materials necessary for the construction of the classroom block. What we see here is work in progress towards its construction. The intention had been to complete the project before schools opened this term but there were challenges in terms of putting together not just the materials but also the building team. There’s quite some considerable progress now and the ZPCS offered their artisans,” said Prof Moyo.
The plan now, he added, is for them to complete the project within four weeks.
Prof Moyo acknowledged that there was a serious shortage of schools in the constituency but expressed optimism that the government’s schools construction programme will address the challenge.
He added: “The shortage of key infrastructure in schools, clinics and hospitals is a challenge. In Tsholotsho the average distance that children have to walk is between seven and 10KM and in some cases more than that.
“Fortunately, the Ministry of Primary and Secondary Education has a very far reaching infrastructure programme to build at least 2,000 schools across the country. Tsholotsho is one of the priority districts. It has two constituencies and both have been earmarked for support under that infrastructure programme.”
He said many schools, including Mbiriya needed to be rehabilitated to improve the learning environment for pupils.
“There are so many things wrong with the existing schools. For example, Mbiriya has no Early Childhood Development (ECD) block. We’ve to make the old schools conducive for learning and building the new schools to reduce the distances walked by the school children.
“There’s a plan that we have and we’re initially focusing on five high schools and at least one primary school in each of the 10 wards. We’ve a situation where there are few schools, which have been affected by the weather over the years and the infrastructure needs to be rehabilitated. We have to address the issue of rehabilitating the schools as well as coming up with new ones.”
Mbiriya Primary School acting headmaster Forward Ncube expressed gratitude to Prof Moyo for the donation.
“We appreciate Prof Moyo’s efforts to improve infrastructure not only at our school but others in his constituency. I’m certain that the classroom block will be complete in four weeks.
“This gesture will also go a long way in improving our pass rate, which is very low due to serious shortages of facilities and learning resources,” said Ncube.
He, however, said the school needs two more classroom blocks and teachers’ cottages to accommodate all the 380 pupils and their teachers.
ZPCS Matabeleland region chief staff officer (administration) Chief Supt Alois Sibanda promised Prof Moyo that he would assign more artisans to the project to complete it in four weeks.
Villagers applauded Prof Moyo for addressing their water problems, saying they were depending on the school for water, which was not adequate.