Simbarashe Fenton M
As the country joins the rest of the world in commemorating World Education Day this month, there is nothing to smile about in Gokwe South community where Gawa Secondary school is in a sorry state, posing danger to learners as well as teachers.
Located less than 500 meters from the shopping Centre, are cracked and worn-out classrooms with one roofless block. The school looks like an abandoned area yet the reality is that every year students are enrolled there.
This situation has demoralized the community, learners and highly affected the quality of education while teachers continue to wish for better and conducive working and learning conditions.
“If we look at the structure of the school, we can hardly call it a school because it is deformed, it is a shame. When I was growing up I heard that my brother passed nine subjects from the school after attaining nine units at primary level. My cousin’s sister had six passes as well and they have been doing well with their lives with that remarkable background at this school but this has totally changed.
“When someone is the highest at primary he/she might have 15 or 25 units then after that comes to a school like this, in these conditions chances are nothing will come out of it all. There is a need for revival of this school and education here. It is high time the government should chip in for real,” said a Gawa villager who refused identification.
“We do not know what is really happening, to be honest, I am not happy because we cannot have a school like this while we have leadership from our local village heads up to the government. We had an MP, who left a while ago, but it did not yield a thing though. I have actually transferred my son to a school in Gokwe Centre where my sister resides because nothing is going to come out of these schools, even teachers do not have proper housing and resources to use, the roads are a mess I think you have seen it when you came here,” added another villager identified as Chikukutu.
Efforts to get in touch with ward 32 Councilor Mhazo on the state of the school were not fruitful because his mobile was not reachable.
However, speaking to this publication on the state of Gawa secondary school, Zimbabwe Heads of Christian Denominations (ZHOCD) Midlands Programs Manager Philemon Hwami acknowledged the crisis and further emphasized the potential role which the local community, donor funding, and government can play to mitigate the crisis.
“I think the local community should raise funds and have them accounted for to reconstruct the school as you saw the structures are dilapidated and the other dimension is that we also want to arrive at a situation where the local council through CDF funds should channel them to the rehabilitation of the school.
“Depending on the view of the community that school could be taken over by our church members such as the Catholic church, which resource-wise, can help to make amends, the international donor funders. So all those stakeholders including the government can also chip in. The last time we had an engagement with the local community they actually argued that the setting of the school was wrong as it is too close to the shopping Centre and the soils upon which it was constructed are very weak, there is need for that change…” said Hwami.
From the information gathered by this publication most youth(s) in the area either drop out of school by getting into early marriages or drop out of school to join artisanal mining bend wagon, some fail and become dependent on their parents for the ‘rest of their lives’.
Meanwhile, the second republic has vowed to keep its end of the bargain in upholding the rights of every child to have access to good education standards and through devolution agenda to decentralize roles, power, and responsibility to the ordinary citizens to foster participatory development leaving no one behind with education as its yardstick.