Health-e (Cape Town)

7 December 2012

South Africa: Poor Conditions At Pre-School Worrying

Vhembe – The principal, teachers and parents of Matavhela pre-school recently spoke to OurHealth about the poor conditions at the school.

“I am sad and a little ashamed to be the principal of this pre-school,” said Mutshinyalo Nduvheni. “These children are not supposed to have to deal with these conditions. Here at our pre-school, we do not have proper toilets for our kids and that is not good for their health – children are vulnerable to diseases like diarrhoea,” Nduvheni said.

Merium Ndou, who works at the pre-school's kitchen said that despite requests, they have not received any help from the Department of Education. "We have been applying for donations from the Department of Education since 1997, but we have still not received a response. We are using the same old classroom which was built in 1995, and it is not in a very good condition. Sometimes we get scared during heavy rains or winds because we think that the building might collapse," said Ndou.

Parents are also not happy with the conditions at the school. Sylivia Mabila, who has a 3-year-old daughter at the Pre-school, had this to say: "I can see the good work being done by the school management for our children to have proper education, but we worry about the children’s health. I sometimes feel uncomfortable letting my daughter go to school because in that classroom there are mosquitoes, and it is very easy for kids to be affected by malaria. I feel that the Department [of Education] has a lot to do here at Matavhela Pre-school."

Another parent told OurHealth: "There are lots of things at this pre-school that are not good for our children's health. The place is very dusty… and there is nowhere they can relax and play except here at a dusty area, that worries me a lot," said Jane Mukwevho.

One of the pre-school teachers, Nyambeleni Makhuvha, blames the Department of Education for the poor conditions. “I feel that the Department should have done something to improve the situation by now. They have to do something to improve the sanitation at the school and also make the yard safer for kids," Makhuvha said.w

Suprise Nemalale is an OurHealth Citizen Journalist reporting from the Vhembe health district in Limpopo.

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