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200 schools in water crisis

K1.7 billion for boreholes

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NSAPATO— Government should protect learners

At least 200 schools do not have access to potable water across the country as the 2022 education calendar opens on Tuesday, January 4.

According to health experts, hand-washing remains key in the fight against coronavirus, alongside social distancing and masking up.

However, Secretary for Education Chikondano Mussa said boreholes are being drilled in the schools.

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“When we made our assessment at the onset of Covid [in April 2020], we found that 640 schools did not have water and immediately 138 schools got assistance from partners, leaving 502 schools. From the second tranche of Covid money, we got K5 billion and allocated K1.7 billion for the drilling of boreholes. As I speak, 300 [boreholes] have been completed and, [as for] the other 200 [boreholes], works [are] in progress,” she said.

Mussa also said, out of the money, another allocation was made for the construction of 383 low-cost classrooms to try and decongest classrooms— 51 of which have been completed.

“The construction of the classrooms meant we needed more teachers; as such, we used the other part of the money to employ over 3,300 auxiliary teachers,” she said.

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She said, apart from the measures above, the government was working on boosting personal protective equipment, adding that, for boarding schools, the ministry had asked education divisions to engage district health offices to help in screening all learners as they report for school on Monday.

“We, as a ministry, cannot afford to risk students and teachers as schools reopen,” she said.

Ministry of Education announced on December 27 that the 2022 academic year would start on January 4.

Quality education advocate Limbani Nsapato challenged the government to speed up the drilling of the remaining boreholes and construction of the classrooms.

“We have been waiting for them [boreholes and classrooms] since last year. It is important that the government should protect both learners and teachers since the prevailing Omicron variant of coronavirus appears to be spreading fast,” he said.

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