Pride of Tentergate

SCHOOL HANDOVER:  Department of Education MEC Fundile Gade with Sadtu provincial deputy chair Lazola Mpote and human settlements MEC Nonceba Khontsiwe viewing the computer lab during Mbekweni Senior Secondary School launch Picture: ABONGILE SOLUNDWANA

R89m school facility uplifts rural community, gives pupils hope

The prefabricated building of Mbekweni High School at Tentergate has been transformed into a state-of-the-art facility worth R89m. The uncommon, top-class facility in a rural area has become the pride of the villagers, who humbly refer to it as their very own ”university”.

The  school’s facilities include a science and a computer lab, a library, a home economics kitchen with stoves, and a kitchen area for school nutrition with indoor and outdoor cafeteria areas.

Science lab

There is also a two-block facility with eight offices, an open-plan reception area, a staff kitchen, two print rooms, a strong room, and two sick bays.

The facility also has toilets and a system to recycle water to for reuse.

Future athletes will also be trained at the new sports facilities.

Mbekweni Senior Secondary School was established by the Ciskei government in 1979 and all its buildings were prefabricated structures.

The school attracted pupils from Tarkastad, Middleburg and Ntabethemba.

Kitchen

The enrollment has increased to 420 pupils after the new facility came into being.

The new building is a major milestone and was started after former teachers at the school suffered from from poor due to the prefab structure.

To save the rest of the teachers and pupils from getting affected, the community members had joined hands to start building a new school.

Community members thus joined hands to start building a new school.

School’s cafeteria

A new block was established, but there were insufficient means to continue with the project.

After request was made to the department of education to intervene, and the rest was history.

Department of education MEC Fundile Gade officially handed over the building on Friday, accompanied by human settlements MEC Nonceba Khontsiwe.

The MEC said the provincial government had decided to handover all the completed school building for the 2019/ 2020 financial year.

Gade said the construction of  28 schools still needed to be completed by the end of the year.

“This R89m project is a dynamic project one in a distant rural area, with facilities which make it a standard establishment in education.”

“We are humbled by the government’s gesture to build such a world-class structure for the residents of the area.”

Gade said the school was built with the hope of bringing meaningful interventions to the community.

“The plan of the province is to reduce all unviable, dysfunctional small schools and build bigger one’s with hostels.

“Doing so will consolidate government resources by allowing them to focus on education-based content material.
It will reduce the unnecessary expenditure incurred by scholar transport.”

This means that the pupils will be able to gain access to their education at any time.

The MEC said the school would contribute to improving the standard of education in the province.

“The challenge of unviable schools is that they produce half-educated pupils, which becomes evident when they reach matric,” he said.

“Having more than 1,000 small, unviable school means the province is delaying the chance of getting grade 12 pupils who meet a good standard, a buy product of everything that happens in the education system,” he said.

School principal Madoda Mopi said 50% of the pupils who were doing matric last year were progressed pupils.

This, he said led all 22 of the progressed pupils failing matric,.

However, the 21 pupils who had  passed grade 11 all passed matric.

“Technically, it means we had 100% pass rate. Last year we did not do well but this year things will change.”

Mopi said there were 12 teachers at the school and that the shortage would hopefully be addressed in 2022.

“We were going to have 13 teachers in January, but the teacher to pupil ratio changed to 1:35. If the minister says 1:30 next year we will qualify for 15 teachers.”

SBG chair Ntombi Ndulula said the was excited about the school, which had taken the village to another level.

“We want local pupils who are studying at other schools to return.

Ndulula believed the quality of education and values taught at the school will attract pupils.

“These values will lead them to qualify for higher learning institutions and to be disciplined.”

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