Sukulwenkosi Dube-Matutu, Chronicle Reporter
YESTERDAY marked a new dawn for the community of Garikai/Hlalani Kuhle area in Cowdray Park, as pupils started lessons at a new school built using devolution funds disbursed by Government.
The Second Republic is championing the devolution agenda, a development trajectory that involves citizen participation aimed at uplifting livelihoods in all the country’s 10 provinces, and leaving noone behind.
A number of roads, clinics and schools among other projects are being rolled out across the country.
In Bulawayo, the newly built Vulindlela Primary School is testimony to the transformational nature of Government’s devolution policy.
The school was given the go ahead to open last week, paving the way for the process of registering pupils and for the first time learners walked through the gates of their newly constructed school.
Learners from the area had to rely on schools in other suburbs, with the nearest being about 4 kilometres away.
Before the opening of the new school in the Hlalani Kuhle area, parents had to pay transport money for their children and for those who could not afford, learners had to walk long distances to school.
Residents who felt that they had for long been left out on development issues are pleased the Second Republic finally heard their plea.
Vulindlela Primary School has enrolled learners from ECD-A up to Grade Four. Two classroom blocks have been built while two others are still under construction.
So far, $5 million has been used to construct the two classroom blocks, the caretaker’s house, a toilet block and septic tank at the school.
While children from the area in Grade 5 and above have not been enrolled at the school, parents are hopeful that next year the school will be able to accommodate more grades.
Cowdray Park suburb has been growing rapidly, increasing the demand for schools.
Mrs Tabeth Makumbi, who has her Grade Four grandchild learning at the school, said the opening of the new school is a huge relief to parents and pupils. She said her grandchild did his ECD to Grade Three at Mahlathini Primary School which is about five kilometres away in Cowdray Park.
Mrs Makumbi said he sometimes walked to school due to lack of transport money.
“The opening of this school comes as a huge relief to us. Our children were struggling as they had to walk long distances to the nearest schools.
‘My grandchild has been walking about five kilometres to Mahlathini Primary School since he was in ECD-A.
“Each time he would come back home very tired from walking a long distance,” she said.
“Most of the time he had to walk as I couldn’t afford to pay transport money.
“The route that he was using passes through a stream and times he would find the stream flooded and then turn back.
“We thank Government and council for building this school because now my grandchild just has to cross the road in order to get in class.”
Mrs Makumbe said there was now need for the school to be electrified so that pupils could learn computers.
Ms Simenyeni Ncube, whose daughter is in Grade Two, said she had to fork out US$300 a term towards her daughter’s transport to Mahlathini Primary School.
She said she was forced to pay the money as she could not allow her child to walk five kilometres to and from school at such a tender age.
Ms Ncube said she will now be able to save a lot of money. She said there was need for more classroom blocks so that the school could accommodate more learners.
Vulindlela Primary School Development Association chairperson, Mr Gift Dube said the school got the green light to commence lessons last week on Tuesday.
He said learning officially started yesterday as last week most parents were processing transfers for their children.
Mr Dube said children were relying on Mkhithika, Mahlathini and Tategulu primary schools which were already crowded.
“Parents are really excited and relieved by this development. Since these learners were registered in other schools, they had to be given a chance to process their transfers that’s why lessons officially started today (Monday.)
‘For now, the school has enrolled ECD-A learners up to Grade Four because of limited infrastructure,” said Mr Dube.
He said there was now need for council to improve the road network in the area as it was in a bad state.
Ward 28 Councillor, Cde Kidwell Mujuru said more funds under the devolution programme will be allocated towards building more classroom blocks at the school.
Clr Mujuru said the opening of the school was the first step towards bringing development to Garikai/Hlalani Kuhle area.
He said people were allocated residential stands in 2006 and the area has 15 600 houses but did not have a school.
“So far $5 million has been used to construct two classroom blocks, a caretaker’s house, toilet block and septic tank at the school.
‘More funds under the devolution programme will be released soon. The plan is for the school to be enrolling all grades by the beginning of next year,” he said.
Clr Mujuru said two more primary schools and three secondary schools were needed in Garikai/Hlalani Kuhle area and they hope to cover the gap using devolution funds. — @DubeMatutu