HomeNewsTholimfundo Primary School Project unfinished after 20 years

Tholimfundo Primary School Project unfinished after 20 years

More than 500 kids from Tholimfundo Primary School in Soweto have been risking their lives learning in cruel prefab mobile classrooms as the Gauteng Department of Education works to finish a school that began construction 20 years ago.

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This week, a teacher from the Protea Glen school summed up years of working under terrible conditions by saying that constitutional rights to teach in a safe atmosphere, as well as children’s rights, are being infringed. In the school’s sports area, there are 14 mobile toilets used by 508 students in grades 4 through 7. After complaining about the outdated mobile classes transported from another school in 2010, they acquired the classrooms in 2020. In 2000, just 13 brick and mortar courses were completed when the school was established. Parents and instructors said that the department told them that the second phase of brick-and-mortar classrooms would be built shortly. However, that pledge has been broken for more than two decades, and the teachers’ condition has grown terrible. On Monday, parents marched to the Pimville district offices, demanding new classes and better basic infrastructure.

Conditions at the Tholimfundo Primary School

Teachers have noted that students in particular classrooms are unable to focus. Those lessons are exceedingly chilly in the winter and tremendously hot in the summer. You can’t concentrate as an adult either. They said that they cannot detect social distance since the number of students exceeds the available area. They also stated that restrooms are a major issue. We have over 1,000 students, therefore they are few. The bathrooms in the main blocks are for foundation phase students; however, they must share them with classes 4 through 7. The area’s mobile classrooms have not been properly earthed, putting individuals who use them in danger of electrocution and lightning. Right in front of the desks, earth lines are dangling. The makeshift toilets that were supposed to accompany the mobile courses can’t be used since sewage slips into from time to time. Six chemical toilets were installed at the school, but female instructors claimed they were high-risk and that two teachers had contracted infections after using them. The other toilets, which were constructed 20 years ago, are faulty and leak water.

Teachers, SGB members, and students from Soweto’s Tholimfundo Primary School marched to Pimville’s district offices to demand new courses and better basic infrastructure. In 2020, a meeting with the department was conducted with a team from the premier’s office and the Gauteng infrastructure development, according to Joseph Mathibedi, head of the school governing body (SGB). According to the proposal, the second phase will cost R19 million.

Parents have complained to the South African Human Rights Commission (SAHRC), and provincial manager Buang Jones stated that the complaint had been received and that the department had answered that it was looking into the situation. The department has been briefing the SGB on how it plans to develop the school in the second phase, according to department spokesperson Steve Mabona. He did not provide any explanations for the delays. The topic has also been brought to the attention of Equal Education. According to its researcher Katherine Sutherland, the courses were overcrowded, making it difficult for professors to move around and monitor work. She claims that congestion leads students to lag behind, resulting in high failure rates and dropout rates. Learners’ rights to basic education and a safe school environment are further harmed by inadequate and decrepit sanitary facilities.

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