Tau Manthe Primary School in Mmopane last Friday celebrated its ‘holy matrimony’ with the Lehmed Health Bokamoso Private Hospital. The hospital, together with other stakeholders, were announcing their adoption of the school and beginning their first project – renewing the school buildings by painting.
Giving the project’s background, the school’s Head, Queen Diana Manthe, said that hers was a group one school with 1020 pupils. The school has 18 classrooms and the 1020 children in the school share only 10 pit latrines. There is no school library. The school has existed since 1974.
“Ten classes in this school are permanently taught under trees. Even there, there is acute shortage of resources; including chalk boards. This has contributed in poor results this school has scored over the years. For instance, in 2009 the school scored 56 per cent. In 2010 the percentage dropped to 50 per cent and in 2011 it dropped further to 40 percent. To try and remedy the situation, teachers popped out money from their pockets and purchased some of the resources and in 2012 the results rose to 51 per cent,” said Manthe.
So, when the idea of adopt-a-school reached her ears, she never stopped hoping that one day her school would benefit from it.
The Director of the Education Hub in the Ministry of Education and Skills Development, Labane Mokgosi, told witnesses of the event that his Department was the overseer of the Adopt-a-School program. He said it is not meant for companies only, but even to individuals.
“Bokamoso Hospital and Tau Manthe are now partners. This is not about donating something to an institution, but a partnership that can be on long or short term basis depending on the terms of the agreement. We encourage Bokamoso Hospital to have a stake on this school,” Mokgosi said, adding that his Department can no longer sustain costs as everyone knows the challenges brought about by the global economic meltdown.
Mokgosi advised all that partnering with business people was a challenge in that they want swift action, commitment and diligence. More often than not, he said government and council employees tend to disappoint the business community who want to do business with them by applying red carpet approach in doing projects. This should be abandoned.
For his part, the Chief Executive Officer of Lehmed Health Bokamoso Hospital, Ruben Naidoo, said his hospital is the largest in the Lehmed Health hospitals. During the tour of the school, with which they started the day, he found that the school needed a lot of help. They have found the bad condition of the toilets and that is where they were going to focus first. Uplifting the pupil’s dignity would help upgrade their performance academically, he said.
The Guest speaker, Daniel Ratsatsi, the Deputy Permanent Secretary-Ministry of Education and skills development (Basic Education) said in 2012 the Ministry called Education Pitso. There they came up with ideas of having participation of various stakeholders in children’s education. Structures like national Parents Teachers Association (PTA) and national mentors were set up as intervention and they are beginning to work. He said Adopt-a-School Project was meant to augment limited resources that the government have; to encourage schools to be attractive and competitive. The Ministry, he said, is now gratified by the response of the corporate world.
Major Driver Motlokwa, the Thamaga/ Mogoditshane Sub Council Chairperson said the school’s poor condition worried him but the Sub Council was handicapped by budgetary constraints.