MUD SCHOOLS ON WAY OUt

DILAPIDATED: Mangeni Junior Secondary School is one of the Umzimkhulu schools to get a facelift. Pic: SNE MASUKU. 19/10/2009. © Sowetan.
DILAPIDATED: Mangeni Junior Secondary School is one of the Umzimkhulu schools to get a facelift. Pic: SNE MASUKU. 19/10/2009. © Sowetan.

LEARNING in dilapidated mud schools will soon be a thing of the past for pupils in Umzimkhulu.

These schoolshave received a R298million cash injection for upgrading.

Construction at 18 mud and tin schools in the area is at an advanced stage.

Soon both teachers and pupils at these schools will have access to clean, safe schools, which it is hoped will help boost performance and results.

Mangeni Junior Secondary School principal Fikile Zondani, whose school is nearing completion, said the leaking roofs and crumbling muddy walls had over the years become "normal" for pupils and teachers.

She said they never imagined that development would come their way.

"On cold days and rainy we were forced to close the school and wait until the rain had stopped to carry on with lessons.

"This often prevented pupils from performing as expected and achieving good results.

"Others eventually gave up and dropped out of school after failing their grades each year," Zondani said.

MEC for education Senzo Mchunu said having mud schools in the province was one of the harsh realities facing the department, especially in Umzimkhulu.

These problems have been further compounded by the re-demarcation of Eastern Cape, which resulted in the area of Umzimkhulu falling under KwaZulu-Natal.

Mchunu advised communities to consult his department when planning to build a school.

He said the ill-equipped schools built without the department's knowledge often caused the backlog in school infrastructure.

"Communities should consult the department to get assistance with regards to whether the land is suitable," Mchunu said.

He said the department was doing away with inappropriate structures, starting with Umzimkhulu.

Some of these schools would be ready for use when schools reopened next year.

Once revamped the schools will have a kitchen, ablution blocks, a media centre and an administration block.

Mchunu confirmed that the 18 schools were being refurbished at a cost of R298million.

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