Limpopo pupils learn under sky
FOR a year now, pupils and teachers at a Limpopo school have been conducting their lessons under risky conditions since their classrooms were damaged by a severe storm.
The damage happened when a storm hit Semaneng Secondary School in Semaneng village in GaMatlala, west of Polokwane, on October 11 last year. Part of the roof of one of the school's two buildings was blown away and furniture damaged.
Now pupils and teachers have to use the partly roofed building to conduct their classes. On rainy days, pupils using the affected classrooms are forced to return home.
When it is windy, teachers have to shout to make themselves heard because of the noise.
During a visit to the school yesterday, Sowetan learnt that the affected building accommodates pupils in grades 8 and 9, a library and a laboratory. The school has 169 pupils, and caters for grades 8 to 12 - with eight teachers including the principal.
Furniture and books were also damaged by rain when the storm hit. The furniture and books that escaped damage are being stored in a cramped staff room.
Pupils who spoke to Sowetan on condition of anonymity said the situation was affecting them in their studies.
"We find it difficult to learn under these conditions. We are also at risk of being injured by the unstable roof.
"The department must come on board and assist us," said a grade 8 pupil.
She also confirmed that they were forced to return home on rainy and windy days.
The provincial department of education was made aware of the situation at the school but has not done anything to assist, the pupils said.
The school is situated just a stone's throw away from the parental home of provincial education spokesman Pat Kgomo, who also confirmed knowledge of the problems faced by the school.
A member of the school governing body, Alfred Mashala, yesterday pleaded with the department to lend a hand.
"Our children cannot continue to learn under these conditions and be expected to pass at the end of the year," Mashala said.
Year-end examinations at the school are scheduled to begin next Monday.
A teacher at the school who also requested to remain anonymous said their work was being negatively affected.
"As we are preparing for examinations, accommodating the pupils will be a very serious problem at this school," he said.
Approached for comment yesterday, Kgomo said they were aware of the state of the school.
"There have been delays in the procurement of contractors to assist but the school is one of our priorities," he said.
Kgomo promised that assistance would be provided "in a few weeks' time". "In the meantime, we will assist matriculants to write in a proper environment." - firstname.lastname@example.org