Port St Johns learners have to be sent home when it rains

Five years on and school hasn’t been fixed

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Photo of classroom with bucket for leaks
Broken roofs at Ndlumbini Junior Secondary School let the rain into the classrooms. Photo: Buziwe Nocuze

Teachers and learners at Ndlumbini Junior Secondary School near Port St Johns were promised in 2012 that their school would be fixed. But five years later, the roof is still leaking and learners have to be sent home when it rains.

Mlamli Lubelu, principal at Ndlumbini Junior Secondary, which is in Khwanyana/Lujecweni, said officials from the Eastern Cape Department of Education had visited the school in 2012.

“They saw the bad condition our school is in,” he said. Officials had said the school was fifth in a queue of schools to be fixed. “Surely by now the four schools that were ahead of us have been done?” Lubelu said.

The school has 370 children and 11 teachers. The classrooms were built in 1986.

Officials returned in 2015 but nothing happened.

Lubelu said nine rooms, including the staff room, leaked in the rain. “This is affecting our kids because we cannot keep them when it is raining but send them back home”, he said.

“I have been a teacher here for the past 20 years and this roof has been fixed several times, but instead of things getting better they get worse,” said Nothiswa Sigebetshu, one of the teachers.

Another teacher, Nomvuzo Mbovane, said she had been a learner at the school and nothing has changed since then. “This school is too old. We are asking government to build us new one,” she said.

The school also faces a lack of furniture, with some learners using buckets as chairs.

Some learners use upturned paint buckets as chairs. Photo: Buziwe Nocuze

Mkwedini Nohaba, a member of the school governing body, said: “All we are asking is for the department to build us a new school because this one is old.”

“If we were really at number five in 2012 we should have got the new school by now.”

Malibongwe Mtima, spokesperson for the Eastern Cape Department of Education said officials would be sent to check the condition of the school and also to check if the school had used its maintenance budget to fix the roof.

“We will know what to do after we get the report from the officials that we sent there,” said Mtima.

Asked why officials were being sent now, when promises had been made five years ago, he said he would have to find out why the school had not yet been fixed. “Normally, when a school is declared as a school that needs to be fixed, that should happen,” he said.

“We will meet with the district and we will fix the school,” said Mtima.

TOPICS:  Education

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