The safety of children at Khabingene Primary School has become a major cause for concern by parents, whose repeated appeals for the school to be repaired have been ignored.
Now the parents are even more worried that a classroom roof might collapse completely now that the rains have started.
Unsafe structure for 20 years
Khabingene Primary School in Khabingene Village outside Flagstaff in the Eastern Cape has 241 pupils in grades 1 to 7. The school is based in old temporary structures that were erected 20 years ago.
The school was established in 1992, yet still does not have proper ablution facilities. The teachers share one old toilet, while learners use an open field.
Parents are now worried that the school’s leaking roof could collapse on their children this rainy season.
Velile Noah, chairperson of the school governing body, said community members had sent him to put pressure on the school’s principal to raise their concerns with the Education Department. He said he had done this on a number of occasions, and had explained numerous times that the children’s safety was at risk.
“When it rains we are worried that our children could be injured, as the roof could fall on them. It has been an unsafe temporal structure for 20 years. The floors are broken with big holes inside. Those classrooms are used by children as young as six years old. They could be injured and break their legs,” Noah said.
Schools run out of funds
He added that after strong winds ripped the roof off one of the classrooms, and the damage had been left unrepaired, he had reported the matter to the office of the district director, but had received no response.
Spokesperson for the Department of Education, Malibongwe Mtima, said the department allocates a maintenance budget to schools.
“When a school is allocated funding, 15% of the funds go towards maintenance. Therefore the school principal together with the school governing body should take money from the main budget tank to do minor things like repair roofs and leaking ceilings. In many cases schools run out of those funds because it is usually for tours.”
Mtima promised to follow up the matter with the district and those responsible for infrastructure within the department.
– Health-e News.
Image credit: Health-e News