MP decries state of hygine and lack of toilets
Ngami Member of Parliament, Carter Hikuama has said that many schools in the North West District were in a bad hygienic state to re-open.
One of the schools in Ngami constituencies, Legotlhwane primary, which re-opened classes for standard 7s this week, does not even have a single toilet for pupils.
“Legotlhwane primary school has no toilets for learners completely. The school has only two toilets for staff members,” the shocked MP noted.
Legotlhwane is a fully-fledged primary school with standard 1 to 7 classes and according to the MP; the school children have resorted to using the nearby bush to answer the call of nature.
“It is a very shocking and disturbing scene to imagine. In this era how can a school open and function without basic ablution facilities? “Asked Hikuama.
The Member of Parliament who is a former teacher says he made the findings during his just ended tour of schools, which started on May 26th until June 1st, 2020.
The school’s toilets were amongst school structures, which were scheduled to be built sometime last year, but have since been halted due to an ongoing court battle over the tender.
Hikuama visited about 24 schools; four junior secondary schools, and 20 primary schools.
The focus of his visit, he said was on three main areas, namely, availability of water in schools, functionality and state of toilets and student teacher ratio in line with social distancing protocols imposed.
“The schools could be said to be partially ready to reopen for those completing classes provided something drastic is done to expedient the process before the whole school is allowed back,” Hikuama noted
His contention was that given the water situation in the area in general, he expected to have a fallback plan in the form of functional pit latrines.
“ But the situation in many schools is disastrous because many it’s either pit latrines are full or they are in a bad state to be used. They are totally incompatible with good hygiene standards,” said the MP.
Meanwhile the MP found out that almost all schools had enough water except for six being, Danega, Tlhale, Tsau, Bodibeng, Tubu primary schools and Okavango secondary school.
“Hand washing facilities were not ready for almost all the schools, where there was one completed, it was not adequate for a school because it was either only one or two basins, which was far from addressing the situation.”
He also decried substandard facilities or poor workmanship compared to other structures seen on social media and television from other regions.
“Classes in most schools need to be split to allow proper social distancing. This on its own calls for employment of more teachers to cope with the increasing number of classes. Making one teacher teach the shifts in classes will compromise effective and quality of teaching and learning.
His conclusion therefore was that under the current situation schools couldn’t be expected to open and become fully operational.
The council and the regional education office could not state whether or not schools in the North West District and the Maun administration Authority (MAA) were ready for re-opening or not.
“We are still touring the schools so we may only be ready to give a general picture of the situation by Friday,” stated MAA council chairperson, Vepaune Moreti.
Schools abruptly closed in March when corona virus outbreak was at its peak and the country was preparing to go on a nationwide movement restrictions and lockdown.