School runs on empty

School runs on empty

MASERU – BORIBENG High School has huge ambitions but lacks the means to achieve its full potential.
One of its major problems is water, a basic human need that many take for granted.
When the local well runs dry, as it does in late winter and early summer, the school has to close early on most days.
Khabele Khabele, the principal, has been at the forefront of efforts to find a solution to the school’s water problem.
He says he has knocked on dozens of government doors but has found little joy.
Nothing has moved beyond the initial promises.

“You can just imagine what happens during summer when it is hot and we don’t have water,” Khabele said.
“Students bring their own bottles of water from home but that water runs out quickly and we find ourselves with no other option but to send them home.”
“This interferes with their learning hence the results at the end of the year are not very good.”
Yet it’s not only the lack of water that worries Khabele.

He said for 13 years now they have taught without electricity and because of that they do not have either a computer or a science laboratory.
“There are no Physics and Chemistry subjects,” he said.
Khabele also said that is because there are no teachers for those subjects.
The school only has six teachers who teach about 250 students.

Boribeng is cuddled on the slope of the Boribeng Plateau in Leribe, a rural village known better for traditional initiation schools and early marriages.
To reach to Boribeng, one has to endure the discomfort of a short but meandering rocky gravel road from the Main North 1 Road in the direction of Butha-Buthe.
It is only three years ago when Khabele was bemoaning early pregnancy and marriage among school girls while many boys joined traditional Basotho initiation schools.
It is challenges like these that make children no longer see the relevance of school in their daily lives and as a result they drop out.
He said some students are “dispirited and are not keen to be educated because they say it is no use because after graduations they will be back at home doing nothing because of the high rate of unemployment”.

Boribeng is one of the schools that do not perform well in the national final examinations.
Touched by the school’s pride ’Matokelo Seturumane, managing director of Thaba-Bosiu Risk Solutions, established a special programme to motivate the students.
For the past six years Thaba-Bosiu Risk Solutions has been giving awards of excellence to Boribeng High School students who perform well.
The company also gives food packages to orphans and disadvantaged children at the high school and its primary school, which suffers the same fate.
Khabele was speaking at the awards giving ceremony Thaba-Bosiu Risk Solutions held last Saturday.

Seturumane said she had sourced computers for the school but unfortunately she could not hand them over because there is no electricity in Boribeng.
“Computers are there and are not used because you do not have electricity,” she said.
This year, vulnerable students from both primary and high school were given groceries while the best performing 22 students were given uniforms and trophies.
Deputy Minister of Sports, Rethabile Marumo, said the high unemployment rate should inspire the students to create jobs.
Marumo said she will also pass the message from the principal that they need electricity and water.

She however said the principal should be patient since there are procedures that have to be followed before the problems are solved.
She said students should not allow their poor background to hold them down.
“This is because your background cannot determine your future,” she said.

Marumo made an example of her poor background that when she was growing up in the village of Litlhatšoaneng.
She said her father was a bus conductor, not even a driver.
Marumo said her father earned M70 at that time but he chose to sacrifice and sent her to Leribe English Medium.
She said life was hard in school because unlike others she came from a poor family.
“However I worked hard and ignored all the challenges,” she said.

Marumo said a few years later, she graduated from the National University of Lesotho.
She said at the age of 26 she was one of the female parliamentarians.
Seturumane pleaded with the government to install electricity at the school because they already have computers they want do donate to the school.

’Makhotso Rakotsoane

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