Kazungula — The Chinese government has come to the rescue of Kazungula with a second primary school estimated to cost P125 million.
To be constructed at Flowertown, the new school is expected to ease congestion at Kazungula Primary School.
Speaking during the ground breaking ceremony on Tuesday, Minister of Local Government and Rural Development, Mr Frans Van Der Westhuizen said construction of the school had been delayed by shortage of land in the village.
The school, he said, would give pupils access to basic education.
Mr Van Der Westhuizen said the Chinese gesture was confirmation of the functionality of bilateral relations between Botswana and China.
He hailed Chinese companies for leaving their footprint in Botswana's infrastructural development.
This, he said, was in addition to interest free loans that China had extended to Botswana.
Minister Van Der Westhuizen said China had become Botswana's third largest trading partner and second largest consumer of its diamonds.
He noted that Kazungula village, was one of the fastest growing villages in the country which necessitated the construction of a second primary school.
The new school would comprise 14 classes with an enrollment of 560, 16 teacher's quarters, a kitchen, sports grounds and an administration block.
He urged the contractor to deliver a quality product and the Chobe District Council to be proactive in supervising the project.
The council was advised to expedite maintenance of facilities so that they could have longer shelf lives.
Minister Van Der Westhuizen said government was concerned about vandalism of facilities by learners and urged parents to play an active role in disciplining children.
Chinese ambassador to Botswana, Dr Zhao Yanbo noted that the project was initiated in 2009 and that it would be the fourth primary school to be constructed by China in Botswana.
The project, the ambassador said, would create a conducive learning environment as pupils would not have to travel long distances for their education.
He explained that Chinese assistance focused on improving livelihoods of communities.
As part of celebrating its 70th anniversary, Dr Zhao said, China wanted to demonstrate that when people were put at the centre of development, they thrived.
He added that both China and Botswana believed in that economic strategy.
Ambassador Zhao said the project would continue to nurture bilateral relations between the two countries as education was key to transitioning to a knowledge based economy.
The two countries, he asserted, continued to cooperate in the area of education, which saw 1 454 Batswana personnel benefitting from scholarships and training programmes funded by the Chinese government.
"This year our bilateral human resources cooperation reached a new height with a total of 85 local students granted undergraduate and post graduate scholarships to study in China," he said.
For his part, Assistant Minister for Presidential Affairs and Public Administration, Mr Machana Shamukuni said the facility would go a long way in transforming lives in Kazungula.
The project, he noted, would motivate teachers as it addressed the issue of teacher-student ratio.
He urged the contractor and engineers to adhere and conform to defined building standards.
Source : BOPA