Locals pitch to clean up top rural school ahead of restart

Ngcobo community members help clean Nyanga Senior Secondary School in preparation for the reopening of schools./SUPPLIED
Ngcobo community members help clean Nyanga Senior Secondary School in preparation for the reopening of schools./SUPPLIED

The rural community around Ngcobo in the Eastern Cape have come together to ensure that their best-performing school, Nyanga Senior Secondary, is ready for the re-opening of schools next week.

A group of residents literally rolled up their sleeves and helped to clean classrooms and the hostel of the school at Gxojeni, alongside the R61.

One of the hostel caterers donated a sanitising booth and a fogging machine to the school to disinfect the classrooms. The school also used its own money to buy personal protective equipment (PPEs) for the grade 12s who are meant to return to school on Monday.

This comes as the Eastern Cape department of education is facing serious challenges in delivering PPEs to schools across the province.

Deputy chairperson of the school governing body Mkhuseli Sikhunana said they understood the challenges faced by the department and that they had to act to ensure the school was ready.

"We decided that while we are still waiting for the department to deliver the PPEs we should meet them halfway.

"We are ready to welcome the grade 12 pupils on Sunday and we have already demarcated classes for them. We have 12 classes that are dedicated for them and classes will have between 13 and 19 pupils," Sikhunana said.

School principal Khulile Qamata said they set aside a budget of not more than R20,000 to buy sanitisers, screeners and masks for the pupils and the staff members and also to fumigate the classrooms.

"There are 7,500 schools in the Eastern Cape that are waiting for PPEs and we understand that the delivery will not just happen overnight, it is going to take time to maybe reach our schools."

Qamata said when they decided to buy masks for their 209 grade 12 pupils and sanitisers, it was to ensure that they were not affected when the department was late in providing those for their school.

"The community members have been very helpful in cleaning the classes and the hostel - something that they have been doing over the years a few weeks before the opening of schools," Qamata said.

Lulama Ngewana, who caters for pupils housed at the school's hostel, said: "I also decided to do a little something to meet the school halfway because the safety of the pupils comes first. The fogging machine can be used every day after cleaning classes to disinfect classrooms and the offices.

"We are trying everything to secure the future of the children," Ngewana said.

The school is known for producing top matriculants in the province. For the 2019 matric results, the school achieved a 95.4% pass and one of its pupils, Lomso Dumezweni, was among the national top achievers.

Qamata said they have also asked Dr Fundile Nyati, a well-known medic, to unpack Covid-19 to the pupils.

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