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New school to ease congestion

24 Mar 2024

The new school under construction in Extension 5, Palapye is expected to ease congestion currently being experienced in Ratsie Setlhako, Sebeso and Morwalela Primary Schools, says assistant Minister of Local Government and Rural Development, Mr Mabuse Pule.

He told Parliament on Wednesday that his ministry was aware of shortage of classrooms and teachers accommodation in all schools in the area attributing it to the fact that it was mainly due to rapid development of Palapye and  population growth. 

However, he said, the ministry continued to address the issue on a priority basis countrywide.

Mr Pule said shortage of classrooms was a challenge faced in schools. He noted that Ratsie Setlhako, Khurumela, Serorome and Kediretswe primary schools in Palapye used old kitchens which were renovated and converted into classrooms to address over subscription issues. 

The assistant minister said the bats infestation matter was being addressed with the assistance of relevant stakeholders since bats were classified as endangered species.

Furthermore, Mr Pule said in 2014 the ministry made a deliberate decision to increase the budget for stationery per learner from P120 to P450 and all councils were expected to adhere to the standard. 

However, he acknowledged that due to budgetary constraints the ministry at times was not able to meet the P450 per child standard.

He emphasised that challenges to the supply of stationery in primary schools were not only caused by budgetary constraints but other issues such as litigation, late delivery and sometimes non-adherence to specifications by suppliers.

 Mr Pule said councils normally budgeted P450 per learner based on the enrollment but due to budgetary constraints that had not been possible as students had been supported by varying amounts.

On schools maintenance issue, he said when considering the volume of maintenance work to be done across districts some councils including Palapye were unable to allocate the stipulated P10 000 to all primary schools due to budget constraints. 

He added that council was not disregarding the Presidential Directive reasoning that fiscal constraints amidst rising expenditure demands rendered it difficult to adequately fund the Handy man initiative.

Moreover, Pule said he was not aware of any instances where parents had been requested to buy stationery for learners. 

However, he acknowledged that there have been times when there were delays in delivery of stationery in schools. 

During such times, he said some parents opted to procure stationery for their children adding that education was a tripartite effort and such parental efforts were commendable.

He said in the unlikely event where a school was unable to provide stationery and parents could not afford to buy stationery, learners were accorded the necessary assistance through existing social welfare programmes such as needy student program.

The assistant minister was responding to Palapye MP, Mr Onneetse Ramogapi who wanted the Minister of Local Government and Rural Development to explain educational challenges in the Palapye constituency and why Palapye primary schools were allocated a budget less than the recommended amount of P450 per pupil unlike other councils.

He wanted to know how much the council budgeted per student and what the ministry gives per student. 

The MP also wanted answers on why the handy man maintenance of P10 000 per school was not given to primary schools as it has been happening in the past.

He had questioned why the council seemed to disobey the directive as the amount came through a Presidential Directive and why parents in Palapye were requested to buy stationery for children and if the minister was aware that some parents were unable to buy the stationery and how could they be assisted.

MP Ramogapi also wanted the minister to explain why there was acute shortage of classrooms and teachers accommodation in all Palapye primary schools and if there were any plans to build more schools other than the primary school under construction at Extension 5. 

He also wanted to know if the minister was aware that Ratsie Setlhako, Khurumela, Serorome, and Kediretswe Primary Schools were using old bat infested kitchens as classrooms. ENDs

Source : BOPA

Author : BOPA

Location : GABORONE

Event : Parliament March 2024

Date : 24 Mar 2024