- Parents call on RDC to expedite extension works
By Abiola Archer
Residents of Kwakwani particularly parents are concerned that students of the Kwakwani Primary School will experience extensive learning loss as they are only attending school three days per week, which has been the case for over three years. Administrators were forced to place the school on a shift system as the school cannot accommodate the number of students now attending. The school was built to house 300 students but now has over 420 students.
Parents argue that since the new school was built it was not adequate for the community’s population, while others argue that when the absent days are accumulated for so long, the children are suffering years of learning sessions. The Grade Six is the only grade that attends school for all five days per week but all other grades attend for three days per week.
As a result of the shift system, it has led to other issues such as irregular attendance and teachers having to send home additional work that cannot be covered in the three days, for parents to do at home with their child. One parent said, “I am not a teacher, I don’t know how to teach and I don’t even know to answer some of them work that the teacher sending to do.” Another said, “is I have to end up doing all the work how the child doing all of this?” Some parents argue that not every parent will have a gadget or the internet to receive the work that the teachers usually send electronically.
With the overcrowding becoming a burning issue, the Kwakwani Natural Resources Organization, other residents of the community and the Parents, Teachers Association (PTA), at the time decided to renovate and use the old school building which is a condemned building located in the same compound, to house additional students. Same was done and while in use, a teacher was injured. After some time, concerned residents and the PTA decided to add additional classrooms below the old school building. Eventually the Regional Democratic Council finished what was started but instead converted it into a smart classroom.
Jocelyn Morgan, a concerned resident said, “I am not satisfied with what the RDC is doing, the school needs space and furniture and that was what we were already doing, we were creating additional space so that our children would have been in school on January 3rd. And we were working to satisfy the staff, what the teachers wanted that was what we were doing, now school has reopened and it’s back to using only the new building.”
Vice Chairman, Mark Goring related that he visited and residents expressed their dissatisfaction with the smart classroom that was done by the RDC. He said, “inside the building is very hot and gives an echo when you speak and it has no ventilation therefore, the council, in the 2024 budget will lobby for a brand-new building.”
Regional Executive Officer, Dwight John, said an extension project is ongoing which will see the construction of five classrooms and should be completed by the end of February. The project is being executed by Naran Construction and is funded with budgetary savings from 2022. The school already has furniture to accommodate the additional classrooms but will also need blackboards and teachers.