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6 April, 2016


A colleague and i recently visited two schools in very rural KZN. Our mission was to assess the infrastructure needs in the hope that we could solve their problems. We had donor funding with which to do this. Both these schools were properly registered with us
We were well received at both schools. But i saw something at these schools that i had not seen in all my years with project build.
When we visit schools we ask to be shown around the school; we like to have a peek in all the classrooms to get a feel of what the classrooms look like, e.g. are they bright and cheerful? Is the ventilation and light good? And most important how many learners there are to a classroom or how many to a desk! The answers are sometimes awful.
For even the best of principals it is an uphill battle to maintain their buildings and in some case even more difficult to contain the numbers. At most of the schools no fees are paid either because it is a no fee school or the poverty of the community is so overwhelming. So we are used to these problems.
But this time what we saw was quite different. We saw empty classrooms and yet some classrooms with 70 learners squashed into desks.
It was quite hard to get a handle on this.
We eventually discovered that these learners were being doubled up because of a teacher shortage. For two at each school it was temporary, teachers were at workshops. For the balance it was a permanent problem! Imagine day after day sharing a fairly bleak room with 69 other people. Imagine how difficult it is to learn.
Imagine how difficult it is to teach

This was simply a problem that project build could not solve! They certainly didn’t need additional floor space!

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