Some students at Molepolole College of Education have hinted at the possibility of a strike action owing to grievances over poor or lack of provision of basic services like water, electricity, food, internet and poor maintenance of hostels.
One student confirmed to this newspaper that indeed they are planning to boycott classes.
“Everything is in a mess. There is poor maintenance work at our hostels, and more often than not we are out of water and electricity,” the student said.
Another female student, who also preferred to speak on condition of anonymity, echoed the same grievances.
“Since my first day in this school last year, we have never had internet, the food is terrible, under cooked and there is no menu, our hostels are always dark because there is no power due to prolonged renovations by the contractor,” she said.
The school’s Student Representative Council President refused to speak to this publication because he did not want to “jeopardise” their impending discussions with the school management regarding their complaints.
“It will not be appropriate for me to discuss the issue with the media before we speak to the management,” he said.
For his part the school Principal, Dr Nephious Mwandila, said as far as he was concerned they do not have water shortage at the school because the school has its own reservoir.
He said as for electricity, they only experience power shortage when there is load shedding or sometimes when there is a storm, in which case other areas of the village are also affected.
Regarding the internet, the principal said this had been a challenge for the whole college since June 2012, adding that the school is trying to source private suppliers.
“We informed the SRC of the efforts to bring about Internet,” Dr Mwandila said.
“We have contacted the private providers and hope this will soon be sorted out. We have informed the SR. If only they could be patient enough. It was our hope that the refurbishment of the whole college could have been through by now. However measures are being taken so that we should not wait for the refurbishment before this is done. This is not only affecting students but staff as well.”
Dr Mwandila denied that there is a food crisis in the school, saying there are different companies that deliver food to the college. “We know that we used to experience this [shortage] with one company but we have since changed to another one,” he said.
Regarding the issue of maintenance work at the school, the principal said there was an agreement between the college, the Department of Buildings and Engineering Services and the Contractor to renovate the hostels in sections so as to allow the students to carry on with their preparation for exams. He said this has prompted DBES to extend the time period for the contractor to finish the work.
“The Contractor is doing a good job yet there are areas that will need correcting during the School period,” he said.
The principal said they recently had a consultative meeting with the new SRC because “we needed to meet them so that we get to know them and also to let them know what the college was doing to ensure a good study environment”.