BY RICHARD MUPONDE
HINGWE Primary school, with an enrolment of 1 000, is a death trap after parts of the classroom walls reportedly collapsed while lessons were in session, sending pupils scurrying for safety, parents have said.
The school, built in 1942 and located a few kilometres from Maitengwe Border Post, has the largest enrolment in Bulilima district.
Infrastructure at the school is dilapidated, with roofs falling in due to termite damage to the trusses. Some of the classroom blocks have huge gaping cracks. Most of the walls are supported by poles to prevent them from falling on pupils and teachers during lessons.
Parents over the weekend told Bulilima West legislator Dingumuzi Phuti that they were living in fear of the worst.
The whole school was an accident waiting to happen, they said.
Hingwe-Mangubo ward councillor Fidzani Ndlovu appealed for government intervention.
“We are shocked by what is happening. This school is very old, it was built in 1942, but it has never been repaired by authorities since independence. The school is so dilapidated that our children are at risk. All the trusses supporting the roof were eaten up by termites and are hanging precariously,” Ndlovu said.
Phuti expressed shock at the state of the school and promised to source some materials and also urged villagers not to fold their hands waiting for donations.
“What I have seen here and heard is painful. It’s not only painful, but shocking and should be solved immediately. I am happy that you have told me what affects you. This school should be renovated; it’s so dilapidated that it can collapse anytime and is a danger to pupils. I appeal to you to also contribute by moulding bricks so that it is rehabilitated,” Phuti said.
He said teachers’ cottages also needed similar attention.
“I will go and ask for assistance to have a good school so that teachers also stay here. Honestly, we should also do something to eradicate the termites. Some of these issues you should handle as the school development committee. The trusses are weakened by termites and entire roofs need to be removed,” he said.
Efforts to get a comment from Bulilima district education officials hit a brick wall yesterday, as their land line went unanswered.