THE government is rolling out an infrastructural development project to construct at least 97 classrooms in 42 schools countrywide before the end of the year.
This was revealed by Prime Minister Thomas Thabane at the recent official opening of four classrooms at Leqele Combined School in Maseru. The event also served as the groundbreaking ceremony for the construction the 97 classrooms project.
Dr Thabane said 11 of the 97 classrooms would be laboratories to facilitate practical studies. He said a budget had also been set aside for staff and leaners’ ablution facilities.
“The classrooms will be constructed in 34 constituencies around the country and will benefit from the government’s plan to improve our education,” Dr Thabane said, adding the project was part of the government’s drive to improve education.
“It gives me pleasure that most of the constituencies that will benefit from the project are in the highlands and foothills as these are some of the areas that have been most deprived of services.”
He said the project would also benefit mission schools as the government has decided not to be selective.
Dr Thabane said the construction of the classrooms is expected to be completed before this year’s Christmas holidays.
He added that next year the government intends to improve hygiene and sanitation in schools to ensure that the country catches up with the rest of the world.
For his part, Leqele Primary School Principal Nt?eli Hlomohang said while they were thankful for the four classrooms the government built, they still lacked infrastructure.
Mr Hlomohang said he was aware that the government is overwhelmed and had to also consider other schools, but they would not stop asking for assistance until their situation is addressed.
“We still need toilets, a storeroom, a kitchen and a hall among other things. Currently, we use a shack as our kitchen which is a huge challenge during rainy days as children end up starving,” Mr Hlomohang said.
Mr Hlomohang said Leqele is one of the best performing schools in the country and therefore appealed to the teachers and parents to collaborate to ensure that it maintains its good record.
He said this will allow the Ministry of Education and Training to respond to their plea whenever they need assistance since they will know that assisting the school would be for a good course.
For her part, Leqele Schools Board Member ‘Matsietsi Phaila appealed to the government to re-introduce teachers’ grants to pay mathematics and science and English teachers as the school was overburdened with paying for the services of 16 teachers.
Meanwhile, Minister of Education and Training Professor Ntoi Rapapa recently officiated at the sod-turning of a science and a computer science laboratory at T?akholo High School in Mafeteng.
The laboratories that will cost M2 million, are being constructed in line with the current syllabus launched in 2012. Although the school already has a science lab, the new one will enable the school to respond to the new syllabus while also creating a balance between urban and rural schools.
Prof Rapapa appealed to teachers to encourage learners who do not do science subjects to learn basics of using computers. He said this would enable them to know their way around computers in preparation for life in tertiary schools where computers are increasingly compulsory.
He also appealed to the community and the teachers to guard the construction equipment for the labs jealously.
Prof Rapapa also encouraged those who are responsible for the project to ensure that hiring of workers on the project must always be transparent and must not be done according to partisan lines.