BY STAFF WRITER
MAGWEGWE High School in Bulawayo is facing serious water problems amid the COVID-19 pandemic, Parliament was told last Thursday.
The issue was revealed by the Parliamentary Portfolio Committee on Primary and Secondary Education chaired by MDC-T legislator Priscilla Misihairabwi-Mushonga in a report compiled by her committee on the field visits they conducted to selected schools in the country to find out their preparedness to combat the
In the report, the committee noted that some schools were facing serious water challenges.
“An extreme case was recorded in Matabeleland, at Sitezi Primary and Secondary schools, which did not have any boreholes and learners had to bring their own water from Tuli River which is quite a distance from the school,” read the committee report.
“Magwegwe High School in Bulawayo is also faced with serious water issues as the local borehole water is unfit for consumption.”
The Primary and Secondary Education Portfolio Committee said water shortage at some schools would have a negative impact on the well-being of learners, as well as the school’s ability to fully function, especially during the current global COVID-19 pandemic.
“Therefore, considering the population density of most schools, the challenges of water and sanitation make it difficult to meet the high levels of hygiene required under World Health Organisation guidelines.”
The committee said some learners had to bring their own water from home or travel long distances to fetch it.
“Mhali Primary and Magwegwe High face acute water challenges and this has a bearing on the capacity of students to wash hands constantly.
“At Magwegwe High, the committee was informed that the school rarely received water from Bulawayo council.
“In addition, the available underground water is unfit for human consumption because the school is situated on a sewage perimeter.”
On face masks, Parliament noted that some students at Magwegwe High School were not wearing face masks (when schools were opened last year).
“The committee was informed that the government, through the Primary and Secondary Education ministry provided three masks per learner. The only exception noted was that of Magwegwe High School where some students, for the second phase reopening, had not received face masks and were using those provided from home.”
MPs also said enforcement of social distancing was difficult at Magwegwe High School due to the number of pupils enrolled.