Monday, May 25, 2020

Arsonists torching down secondary schools in Maun

The Botswana Police Service Public Relations Officer, Assistant Commissioner Christopher Mbulawa, says that they are still hunting for suspects in a case in which two Maun secondary schools classes were burnt down.

“We are still looking for suspects and are appealing to members of the public to help us arrest the suspects,” he said.

So far, the arsonists have burnt down eight classrooms at Maun Secondary School and two at Tsodilo Junior Secondary School.

Last week, Oarabile Phefo, the Public Relations Officer in the Ministry of Education and Skills Development, confirmed that they had indefinitely sent home 1,400 Maun Secondary School form four students following unexplained fires that left eight classes burnt down.

Phefo said that the decision was taken after they felt that the unexplained fires were a threat to the students.

“The decision to close the school was taken after the realization that the matter had grown to an extent that it was a threat to the students,” he explained, adding that considerations to reopen the schools for the Form Fours would be made only after normalization of the situation.

Asked about the plight of Form Five students, most of whom are currently writing their final examinations, Phefo said that their examinations are on course but that those who were boarding students had been asked to find alternative accommodation out of the school.

He declined to say if there are any measures put in place to ensure that the students are secure while writing their examinations.

“We cannot discuss such issues,” he said.

Maun Secondary School is currently hosting Shakawe Senior Secondary School students whose school was closed after the realization that it had some structural defects.

The Station Commander of Maun Police Station, Senior Superintendent, Kenny Badumetse, has confirmed that they are investigating a case of arson at the school but declined to give more details.

A Home Economics Laboratory at Tsodilo Community Junior Secondary was gutted by fire on Thursday night under suspicious circumstances. This came a day after Maun Senior Secondary School was closed indefinitely under mysterious circumstances.

This followed some unrest at Maun Senior, which resulted in the closure of the school.

Badumetse says they suspect the fire incident is connected to the one at Maun Senior Secondary where eight classes have been burned down.

Badumetse could not state any disruption of practical examinations being undertaken by the Form Threes at Tsodilo Secondary School but only said investigations on the matter was still fresh.
He told The Telegraph that no one had been arrested in connection with the two incidents.

On Wednesday, when The Telegraph visited the Maun Senior Secondary School, there was drama and unrest, with police all over the school premises.

At the assembly point, Maun District Commissioner, Bernadette Malala, said they had arrived at the decision to close the school following some threats that continue within the school premises.

When contacted this week, Bernadette said the examinations for the Form Fives were running smoothly and that the security within the premises had intensified.

The arson attacks come just as Form 3 and Form 5 students are sitting for their final exams.  
Although the government has seen this as the right decision, the Botswana Sectors of Educators Union Secretary General, Tabokani Rari, is of the view that although they represents the welfare of teaches, education officials could have looked at a better alternatives than to shut down the school.

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