Michell Zvanyanya, Chronicle Reporter
BULAWAYO requires 25 new primary schools to ease overcrowding at existing ones that have resorted to “hot sitting” as they cannot cope with the increasing number of pupils.
In an interview on the sidelines of the Secretary’s Merit award handover ceremony at Emganwini Primary School on Thursday, Housing and Community Services Assistant Director, Mrs Thumamina Khumalo, said there is overcrowding at most primary schools.
Most schools have resorted to “hot sitting”, whereby some pupils attend classes in the morning and others in the afternoon in order to share classrooms.
Mrs Khumalo said the situation has been compounded by the continuous growth of the city and the introduction of Early Childhood Development (ECD) classes which have seen most pupils under the programme conducting lessons in the open.
“The city is in dire need of more schools to eradicate the challenges associated with hot sitting. My education officers estimated that we need around 25 new schools with Emganwini, Pumula South and Cowdray Park being the most affected. We pray for the economic situation to improve and access to the Public Sector Investment Programme (PSIP) funding in achieving this goal,” she said. “Hot sitting negatively affects the performance of pupils in schools as it results in a low pass rate due to inadequate learning resources. Pupils are also forced to sit outside classrooms under temporary sheds due to the absence of enough classes to accommodate them. Building more schools will help create a conducive learning environment for pupils and promote effective learning.”
Mrs Khumalo said council has built another school, Vulindlela Primary School, in Cowdray Park which will be officially opened next year. She said the local authority wants to construct another primary school in the same suburb next year if funds permit.
Mrs Khumalo said council was failing to build two schools every year in line with its strategic plan due to funding challenges.
In 2017, Government scrapped “hot sitting” for grade three classes in Bulawayo due to the implementation of the new education curriculum which saw their learning stretching for most of the day. The new curriculum targeted levels: Early Childhood Development, Grades One and Three as well as Forms One, Three and Five pupils. — @michellzvanyanyan2