Students at Mabelreign Girls High School yesterday staged a demonstration against school authorities, alleging poor administration, among other complaints.
BY RUTENDO MATANHIKE
The more than 100 boarding students walked from the school to the nearby Mabelreign Police Station where they presented a petition with their grievances.
Efforts to get a comment from the school authorities proved fruitless after they refused to entertain a NewsDay crew. Mabelreign police referred the paper to Harare Central Police Station.
Primary and Secondary Education ministry spokesperson Patrick Zumbo, asked NewsDay to check with him later, and when he was called again, he was said to be in a meeting and could not respond.
Students who spoke on condition of anonymity alleged that the school’s administration had misappropriated foodstuffs they had brought from home at the beginning of the school term, among them cereals and juices.
“As boarding students we were requested to bring groceries with each person required to bring six litres of juice and some cereals. When we requested for the foodstuffs, we were told that these have been exhausted, yet we only received a few supplies,” said one of the students.
The students said they were suffering due to power cuts and water shortages. They said they were now using water from the swimming pool for sanitary purposes, exposing themselves to waterborne diseases.
“We also haven’t been able to study for about a month now because of power cuts. However, the school has a generator which they are also not utilising. Water is now a major crisis and now we have to use water from the swimming pool to bath and even brush our teeth, and as pupils we do not think that is very hygienic and could cause major health problems,” another student said.
The girls said they had engaged the district’s school inspector to address their concerns on three occasions, but had not received assistance, prompting them to demonstrate.
“We wrote to the district school inspector on three occasions and still no action was taken. We had no option, but to demonstrate. The administration also tried stopping us from demonstrating against them. They locked the gates to stop us from leaving the school premises to go to the police station. They also
threatened to expel all those that took part in this action against them,” the pupil said.