Botswana: Report Paints Gloomy Picture At Ngambao, Gowa

Maun — A task force assigned to investigate living condition of pupils at Ngambao and Gowa junior secondary schools in the Okavango Sub-district has revealed unreported cases of defilement.

Presenting the report at the just ended full council session, leader of the task force, Mr Petros Tjetjoo also cited deplorable living conditions at the hostels.

He said teenage pregnancy at both schools was a concern noting that since 2019, Ngambao JSS had a total of 16 pregnancies of which eight were Form 3 pupils.

He said currently Ngambao had two confirmed pregnancies while three were still suspicions.

He added that all the cases, except one, were defilement but parents were not interested in bringing perpetrators to the book.

At Gowa JSS, he said there were 11 dropouts of which majority were boys and four were pregnancies while one Form 3 female pupil was reported to be cohabiting.

All the pregnancies, he said were reported to be defilement and parents were not helping as they withdrew the cases.

He also stated that last year, a Form 1 pupil gave birth at school and parents did not show up for the matter to be investigated.

This year, Mr Tjetjoo said Gowa JSS had recorded four pregnancies and one suspected case, adding that the case had been handed over to the social worker.

Other issues of concern reported were vandalism, indiscipline, lack of parental support to the school and poor maintenance of facilities.

On maintenance, Mr Tjetjoo stated that the facilities at both schools were in a deplorable state and called for urgent attention at both schools.

He emphasized that the environment was not conducive for both learning and teaching.

Ngambao JSS was reported to have not been maintained for the past four years and that there was no perimeter fence at the hostels.

He also noted that there was a shortage of beds as some students were sleeping on the floor, no running water at boys' hostels and that the school's pit latrines have not been working for the past four years.

With regard to pupils, he reported they were crowded in the hostels and ablution blocks were not working and this compromised hygiene and COVID-19 protocols.

Mr Tjetjoo stated that the school had 273 girls who were accommodated in boarding facilities of which 38 were dropouts and some on transfers. Furthermore, he said due to shortage of hostels, the school introduced three asbestos makeshift rooms with no power, water and windows.

He also stated that only one ablution block was functional and shared by 235 girls with no hot water. He said the 217 boys were also used cold water to bath as the one ablution block with water system was not working.

The task force was also informed by the school management that the school was faced with a challenge of animals roaming and destroying student learning materials. The school was also reported to be in need of furniture, as it had a shortfall of 198 desks, 251 chairs and replacement of chalkboards.

On issues contributing to poor performance, Mr Tjetjoo cited inadequate teaching and learning materials and bad lightning for evening studies as one class had lights.

As some of the recommendations, the task force called for the relevant authority responsible for the maintenance of the schools to improve on service delivery.

The team also called for the Ministry of Basic Education to consider reviewing transfer policy taking into account the Remote Area Dwellers Policy for teachers.

The council formed a task force following reports that the schools were not habitable thus posing risk to students and that there was an outcry about poor performance at both schools.

<i>Source : BOPA</i>

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