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Overpopulation dogs Cowdray Park schools

by Staff reporter
07 Jan 2024 at 17:37hrs | Views
THE public and private sector have been urged to invest in education infrastructure in the fast growing suburb of Cowdray Park in Bulawayo which has seen the limited number of schools forced to create three learning sessions per day due to over population.

Cowdray Park suburb is the most populous suburb in the city with 75 070 people according to the 2022 national census results and is the second most populous urban ward in the country after Harare's Budiriro which has 89  287 people.

The rise in population in Cowdray Park has increased the demand for social amenities to close the distances travelled by residents to access essential services one of which are schools.

According to the latest council minutes, of the 30 council owned schools, those located in Cowdray Park are the most populated.

"In terms of social development, City of Bulawayo has social and recreational facilities that are gender responsive and disability friendly which included: 30 primaries and one secondary school, 26 pre-schools, 15 youth centres, 10 Vocational Training Centres and three home craft centres.

"As of the year 2023, Cowdray Park had Mahlathini Primary School which had an enrolment of 1 373 females and 1 452 males bringing the total enrolment to 2 795. Tategulu Primary School had an enrolment of 1 225 females and 1 227 males bringing the total to 2 452. Mkhithika Thebe Primary School had an enrolment of 1 212 females and 1 213 males bringing the total to 2 425. Vulindlela Primary had a total enrolment of 1 100," reads the report.

Bulawayo Provincial Education Director Mr Benard Mazambani said Cowdray Park was in serious shortage of schools though Government was working towards constructing more. He said the high enrolments have seen schools rolling out two to three sessions a day.

"We have a serious shortage of schools in Cowdray Park. Some schools are having three sessions in order to keep the number of people optimum with available resources. By so doing we are trying to maintain the capacity of these schools. For example, you will have Mahlathini with close to 3 000 pupils yet the capacity is about 500.

"However, two schools will be constructed this year, the other by Government through a Public Sector Investment Programme and the other through a private partner. The suburb needs a total of six more schools in order for them to be adequate for the population there," said Mr Mazambani.

Cowdray Park National Assembly Member, Arthur Mujeyi said the constituency needed more schools due to the high population which has seen other pupils learning outside.

"You will realise that we have a population of more than 75 000 people in the three wards but we have three primary schools and one Government Secondary School. The situation is so bad that other learners are attending class outside. As such we continue to lobby Government to help in the construction of additional schools," said Mujeyi.

According to council regulations, a radius of 6 000 homes should have 12 schools which translates to a shortage of 65 schools in Bulawayo needed to service the growing population.

Source - The Sunday News