CHIEF MASUKU of Matabeleland South has called for a holistic approach to solve the problem of poor results in rural schools in his province.
Speaking at the commissioning of electricity at Matshiya Primary School in Matshetsheni last week, Chief Masuku said
all stakeholders in the education fraternity were to blame for the extremely poor results which saw six schools in Gwanda district recording a 0% pass rate in the 2013 Grade 7 exams.
“The blame can be on the pupil, parent, teacher and to an extent the employer, but we cannot be finger pointing. We need to work together to improve the standards in rural schools so that our children achieve their dreams,” he said.
Matshiya recorded a 5% pass rate in the 2013 Grade 7 exams. Jackson Ndlovu from the Edward Ndlovu Memorial Library in Gwanda said the availability of electricity alone was not going to suddenly push the pass rate up.
Ndlovu said the biggest problem bedevilling most rural schools was the shortage of literature.
“We need to cultivate a culture of reading among our children and the only way we can do that is by providing books to these children. As parents, we need to develop interest in reading and obviously our children will take after us,” he said.
Matshiya Primary School head Siphiwe Ncube said although they welcomed the electrification of the school, it still faced a host of challenges.
Ncube said lack of furniture had resulted in pupils sitting on the floor during lessons.
“Most of our pupils from Grade 0-7 are forced to sit on the floor because of a shortage of furniture and this is not conducive for learning,” Ncube said.
The school’s two classroom blocks are also dilapidated and Ncube said disaster could strike at any moment.
“Both our teachers and pupils are at risk of a collapsing roof. As we switch on the lights today, it must be remembered that the school still has no running water and this has been difficult for our teachers who have to walk 5km to fetch the precious liquid,” he said.
Male teachers have shunned the school over the water problem. The school is staffed by seven female teachers.
The School Development Committee chairperson Rita Moyo appealed to well-wishers to help improve the school.
“We need a library and a new classroom block to accommodate ECD (Early Childhood Development) learners and we appeal for your assistance,” Moyo said.
Chief Masuku, who also chairs the Gwanda Community Share Ownership Trust (GCSOT), brought cheers from villagers when he informed them that the GCSOT would soon drill a borehole at the school to solve its perennial water woes.
He said the GCSOT was also working on providing furniture to a number of schools in the district as well as building five science laboratories in different secondary schools.