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A shocking state of affairs      

Linaka Primary School


Linaka Primary School is in such poor state it is hard to believe it is in 21st Lesotho

Motsamai Mokotjo



That probably sums-up the state of Linaka Primary School situated in Makanyaneng village.

With an enrolment of 100 students, the derelict school only has two staffers and one of them is the principal who teaches classes 2, 4, 6 and 7. The other classes are handled by the other teacher.

The classrooms, built from stones collected from the mountainside by parents, have no roofs and the students don’t come to school when it’s raining or there is snow for obvious reasons.

The principal, Bokang Mohloai, told the Sunday Express it was unacceptable that Lesotho could have such a school “in this day and age”, adding appeals for government to improve it had fallen on deaf ears.

Established in 1956, Linaka Primary School appears to have frozen in time and looks as if  it is still in pre-independence Lesotho.

This is no place to call a school, Ms Mohloai said, particularly in a country desperate to ensure it maintains its respectable educational standards, and which gained independence way back in 1966.

“We work just because there’s nothing else one can do; these conditions are horrific, to say the least. They are not acceptable.

“There are two of us here, and in addition to being the principal, I also teach four classes,” Ms Mohloai said.

According to Ms Mohloai, two buildings were erected by locals who would go up the mountain to collect stones but could not roof the structures due to lack of funds.

Ms Mohloai added: “When it rains or snows, the kids don’t come for classes, and as a result, their performance goes down.”

She also told the Sunday Express that some of the parents do not value education that much as herding cattle and farming take precedence over classes.

“This month [June] is examination time, and it’s also harvest time. But harvesting is prioritised and parents generally bring their kids here when there is nothing else to do.

“They can’t see that education is a way out of this abject poverty,” said Ms Mohloai who has been at the school for four years.

Asked if she had reported the issue to the authorities, Ms Mohloai said the local councillor is part of the school board but “there’s nothing he can do”.

The Ministry of Education knows about the state of the school, according to Ms Mohloai, but has not done anything to make it a 21st century institution.

Last month, officials from the American Embassy visited the school to assess its needs, according to Ms Mohloai.

“They interviewed me, promising to look into the issue. As for government, officials said they can’t help in terms of the student-teacher ratio which is 1:50.”

Meanwhile, three kilometres from Makanyaneng is Ha Matjota village, which is home to  Matjota Primary School.

The principal, ‘Matokelo Sepoqoa, said the school has six teachers who are overworked because they take care of 276 students.

Lack of cooking facilities, adequate classrooms and decent toilets were among a host of problems faced by the 80-year-old school, according to the principal.

On his part, the Member of Parliament (MP) for Mashai #79, Tšoeu Mokeretla, under whose jurisdiction Linaka falls, said he knew about the challenges facing the school.

Mr Mokeretla, who is also the Minister of Public Works and Transport told the Sunday Express: “I gave the councillor a date on which the school is to be built even though I can’t remember the day.

“I discussed the issue with the Minister of Education [Dr Mahali Phamotse], but this problem is not just in my constituency but countrywide.”

“Manamaneng LEC Primary School and Lekorane RC Primary School are going to be looked at first, then Linaka Primary School will follow.”

MP Sello Mooki, under whose constituency Matjota village falls, said he would go and see for himself the problems affecting the school.

Mr Mooki, who also attended Matjoka Primary School said: “I need to go there first to assess the situation. I promise to pass the message to the relevant minister. I know the school and it’s very close to where I stay.”

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