Leonard Ncube, Victoria Falls Reporter
A NEW state-of-the-art school has been built deep in Binga’s Lusulu area, a development that is expected to go a long way in enhancing quality education.
This comes as Jafuta Foundation, a humanitarian organisation working in Hwange district has donated 1 700 solar reading lights, dubbed lights for literacy, to selected schools in Hwange and Binga districts for use by examination classes.
Located on the boundary of Binga and Lupane districts, Kokoloza Primary School is one of the 17 schools that Government undertook to construct countrywide through a US$20 million OPEC Fund for International Development (OFID) grant whose target is to reduce schools deficit.
Government’s short term plan is to construct more than 2 000 world class schools across Zimbabwe, to ensure learners do not travel long distances to the nearest school.
Kokoloza Primary has over the years been an annex of Gwangwaliba Primary in the same area and it will be one of the feeder schools to Lusulu High School.
To confirm the importance of infrastructure in education, the school’s enrolment this year rose from 400 to 619 pupils following completion of the classroom blocks.
There are four new blocks each with four classrooms while an Early Childhood Development (ECD) complex with four classrooms was also built.
The school has an administration block, a science laboratory and library while teachers will also be using interactive board to conduct lessons, a rare teaching aid in most rural schools. This is in line with the new competency-based curriculum.
Traditionally, teachers shun rural schools because besides inadequate learning rooms, they lack decent accommodation for teachers.
At Kokoloza the situation is different as five four-roomed houses have been built.
The school has 10 teachers but should have 19, Hwange District schools inspector Mr Edson Masungo said.
He visited the learning institution on Wednesday to assess its state and said he was satisfied the facility will help improve quality of learning in Binga.
Binga scored 12 percent pass rate in Grade Seven last year.
“We visited the school to assess it and this is a positive development in terms of infrastructure and quality of education especially in this area. We expect to have quality education and learners coming from the school,” said Mr Masungo.
Mr Masungo said there is still a challenge with water after the contractor failed to drill a borehole on site and Tensor Construction, the contractor which has built several schools across the country for Government, is working on plans to draw water from a source about 7.3km away to provide piped water to the school.
Over the years, teachers have also shunned some schools because of distance to the nearest business centre and lack of proper water and sanitation facilities.
Meanwhile, handing over the solar reading lights to Chidobe Primary and Secondary and Emfundweni BH36 Primary schools on the outskirts of Victoria Falls on Wednesday, Jafuta Foundation outreach director Mr Sipho Moyo said the lights with a three-year lifespan, will remain school property for use by examination classes that is to say Grades Six and Seven, and Forms Three and Four. Teachers are also included.
Of the 1 700 lights, 1 000 were given to Hwange West schools and 700 will go Binga although beneficiaries are yet to be identified.
Chidobe Primary and Secondary got 70 and 75 lights respectively while BH 36 got 37.
Other schools in Hwange West will also get their shares depending on enrolment in the exam classes.
Mr Moyo said 500 similar lights donated by Jafuta to schools in Jambezi cluster three years ago were still in use.
“We are dedicating 1 000 solar lights to schools in Hwange West and 700 to Binga and it is important for us to prioritise examination classes. We are not directly giving the lights to children but to the school meaning they will be school property. School authorities will be giving learners to go and use the lights for reading at home and when the finish examinations they will surrender them back to the school for use by other classes,” said Mr Moyo.
Chidobe Primary School head Mrs Sithokozile Tshuma said the reading lights are a boost to schools.
“This is a shot in the arm as all learners will now be on the same level. This will build confidence in our learners as they will have ability to do homework hence this will improve pass rate,” she said.
Hwange Rural District Council chief executive Mr Phindile Ncube said performance of schools in the district was a cause for concern as he challenged school authorities and parents to work together in improving pass rates.
Chidobe primary pass rate was 14 percent last year, while BH 36 had zero percent and Chidobe secondary 10 percent.