Article and Pictures by: Mufute Tawanda B (ATRDT Sec)
With the call for social distancing to prevent the spread of COVID-19 one wonders how Chirasika Primary School is going to conduct lessons when schools reopen. Chirasika Primary School was built by Anjin Mining Company for the diamond relocated families. Four villages namely Anjin, Jinani, Diamond Mining Company and Rera enroll pupils in this institution. The school also enrolls pupils from illegal settlers who occupy grazing lands namely Kamuzhanje, Maone, Matereke etc. 1500 pupils are enrolled at Chirasika Primary School with 4 classroom blocks leaving the large number of pupils conducting lesson in asbestos makeshifts. Each class at this school has an average of 55 pupils in a class. The school has 16 blair toilets that are being used by pupils and one wonders on what will happen to pupils when lessons resume.
The relocated families had managed to construct 2 by 2 classroom blocks to ease the shortage of learning facilities. Arda Transau Relocation Development Trust molded bricks and donated these to the school for the construction of classroom blocks. Failure by mining companies to provide income generating projects and employment to the relocated families has made such efforts to be an uphill task. Families are facing it hard to cope with the lifestyle of this unplanned relocation with some even failing to afford fees payments. A survey by Arda Transau Relocation Development Trust monitors shows that parents are finding it hard to pay fees leaving the school to operate with what is there. With the cold season approaching the pupils will be exposed to harsh temperatures. Efforts to get assistance from the Zimbabwe Consolidated Diamond Company hit a hard rock with the company citing lack of resources basing their argument that diamonds are being stock piled and not being sold.
After noticing all these shortfalls as a development practitioner, I recommend that the following be done to avert the situation at Chirasika Primary School before schools are re-opened so that pupils and teachers will adhere to the measures put in place by government and world health organization.
- Government and Zimbabwe Consolidated Diamond Company should construct more classroom blocks at the school.
- Improve provision of clean and safe water to pupils and relocated families.
- Government through Ministry of Education should provide enough textbooks to pupils so that they don’t overcrowd on one textbook.
- Government and Zimbabwe Consolidated Diamond Company should embark on COVID19 awareness to learners and community.
- Government and Mining Companies should provide protective clothing, gloves, masks, and other essential to the school to fight the pandemic.
- Allocation of devolution funds to Arda Transau Relocation area to make the area to catch up with other communities’ development.
- Provision of livelihood projects and employment to the relocated.