The community of Mantshayi in Mthatha was jubilant when Basic Education Minister Angie Motshekga arrived to hand over a new school.
Learners at the Nobantu Senior Primary School looked splendid in their new uniform, an indication by parents that they were ready to start on a new leaf.
Described by the Minister as the new centre for quality learning for the children in the community, the school is part of the drive to replace mud schools in the country. It was developed as part of the Accelerated Schools Infrastructure Development initiative (ASIDI) in partnership with the Development Bank of Southern Africa (DBSA).
The school was founded by Miss Nobathembu Gaba in 1995 because there was no school in the area . With permission from the community, she started the school with about 60 learners. They used mud houses provided by the community before moving to a site which was identified and a rondavel was built by the community as a classroom with no electricity or sanitation.
Built at a cost of R13.8 million, the Nobantu Senior Primary School is a state of the art school with seven classrooms, a Grade R class and modern facilities such as a science laboratory, a library, a computer laboratory, a nutrition block and a multipurpose class.
“In the Eastern Cape and all over the country, the Department of Basic Education is delivering sanitation and water facilities to schools that had never benefitted from these amenities,” said Minister Motshekga in her keynote address at the ceremony.
Premier Noxolo Kiviet said every time the executive committee visited communities, there was this concern with mud schools by the communities and as a result the provincial government approached the National Treasury with a proposal to build schools. The National Department of Basic Education introduced ASIDI as an intervention to address the problem nationally and at the end of March 2013, 17 of the 49 schools identified for replacement nationally had been delivered.
“I am very happy and overjoyed with the building of the new school because in the past during rainy days, cold weather and windy days we were sometimes forced to release the children because the structure was unsafe, especially during windy days” said the school principal, Bulelwa Rune.
* Ndyebo Kopo works for the GCIS in the Eastern Cape