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Parents force open incomplete school

21 Jan 2020 at 18:52hrs | Views
CONTROVERSY-riddled Glaudina Primary School in Harare yesterday opened its doors to students amid a misunderstanding between the parents and responsible authorities over inadequate infrastructure, with pupils taking classes from unfinished classrooms.

The school, owned by Harare City Council, has not been developed in time, leaving pupils to learn in inhospitable conditions, with no desks or proper ablution facilities as parents push for its continued running before construction is complete.

When NewsDay visited the school yesterday, the learners were about to be dismissed after a day of sitting on rough floors in numbers of up to 200 per class.

The school has an enrolment of 1 260 students from ECD A to Grade 5 and is relying on hired mobile toilets.

Speaking to NewsDay, spokesperson of the School Development Authority, Thomas Mutsvene, said the institution was a product of a public-private-partnership between City of Harare and a contractor, Naldine (Pvt) Ltd, who breached the contract, leaving them in the current predicament.

"The school was part of an agreement between council and a private contractor and we understand that it was their agreement that the contractor builds the council school first before they built their private school a distance away. They, however, proceeded to build theirs first and kept postponing the opening of this school as development had been stalled despite the agreement we had that the school would open at the beginning of the new school year (January 14) after failure to do so in January last year," he
said.

"Currently, there are more than 10 teachers teaching ECD A to Grade 5 as we came up with an interim arrangement that qualified teachers within the community would assist while we await deployment by the ministry."

Mutsvene said the school had no furniture, but they had made an arrangement with the parents to pay an equivalent of US$10 before end of week for the purchase of furniture over the weekend.

Parents stormed the school with their children in uniforms on opening day last week and summoned the local legislator, Edwin Mushoriwa, who talked with them and they agreed to help with the construction work in preparation for opening yesterday.

Mushoriwa told this paper that the school's failure to open was a result of a deal gone sour between the developer and council.

"The school did not open (last week) because the developer, who barter-traded land with City of Harare in return for building part of the school, had not completed the job. The swap agreement was done around 2015, with a ground breaking by then Education minister Paul Mavima in 2018 and an undertaking the school would open in 2019," Mushoriwa said.

"Last year, they failed to honour their agreement and the community decided to force the opening of the school this year despite the incomplete
structures."

Naldine director Lameck Tarupuwa acknowledged that they had failed to meet the deadline, but dismissed allegations that they went on to build their private school outside the
agreement.

"We are in an agreement with council to build a school that we would donate to the community. We had initial timelines and we kept in touch with council. Parents were, however, impatient, so they were piling pressure on us even though we communicated that the school may be ready for opening in the second term," he said.

Efforts to get a comment from Harare mayor Herbert Gomba were fruitless as he was in a meeting. Harare spokesperson Michael Chideme could not be reached for comment.



Source - newsday
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