BY JAIROS SAUNYAMA
Investigations into the Monte Cassino Girls High School case have revealed that some of the students’ “concerns are genuine” with four teachers set to appear before a disciplinary hearing.
The Primary and Secondary Education ministry recently investigated the accusations at the Roman Catholic school in Macheke and, according to the report, many of the students’ concerns were found to be true.
On March 15, 145 girls walked for about 7km to Macheke Police Station, where they camped, accusing school authorities of confiscating their laptops, corporal punishment and sexual abuse, among other allegations.
The students were persuaded to go back to school by government officials who then launched an investigation into the matter.
“The girls’ concerns were genuine. After investigations, it came out that all is not well at the school and this worsened after a new school head came in. It could be sabotage. Four teachers (names withheld) at the school will face disciplinary hearings soon as they are accused of verbally and physically abusing students,” a source said.
The source also revealed that services at the school are deteriorating such that the investigation team contemplated on the temporal closure of the school. Students at the school were also being forced to buy painkillers for $1 a tablet or $1,50 for two tablets.
Staff members are also accused of selling stationery to the learners at extortionate prices.
“The ablution facilities were not functioning well, with some of the infrastructure in dilapidated state. The school also employed unqualified staff, maybe on the basis of being Catholic. The matrons, who are not qualified nurses, are administering drugs to learners with some selling a tablet for $1 to sick learners. The investigators at first recommended for a temporary closure of the school until some things are corrected. However, the school has since moved to restore sanity before schools open,” the source added. Monte Cassino is also being accused of overcrowding with a hostel meant for 25 learners currently accommodating close to 40 boarding students.