Clive Ndou and Njabulo Buthelezi
1 minute read
20 Mar 2015
9:30 am

‘Unbearable’ walk to school in rural KZN

Clive Ndou and Njabulo Buthelezi

Villagers in Msinga, KwaZulu-Natal, have appealed to government to build them a school as children are walking long distances to the nearest learning centre.

FILE PICTURE: Children on their way to school. (Photo by Gallo / Sowetan / Johnny Onverwacht)

Parents said minors were walking up to 15km and it was affecting their educational performance. “As parents, we therefore appeal for the government to build us a new school in between Dlenyane Combined School and Gunjane, otherwise primary school children end up dropping out of classes.

“Every day children as young as eight wake up as early as 5am in order to walk to school for lessons that start more than two hours later. This affects their studies,” said Bongani Mkhize, a father of two.

Nokuthula Qwabe said she had stopped her 10-year old son from attending Dlenyane Combined School. “My child spends most of the time walking to and from school, yet, when it comes to school work, he is tired. Such long distances make them fail in their studies. Even the ones at high school, they cannot endure long distances of 10-to-15km daily, thus a total of 30km walking distance daily,” Qwabe said.

She said she would soon move to Tugela Ferry township so her son could continue with his studies. A Grade 6 pupil, Mzwakhe Tshabalala, said he attended school lessons daily despite the long walk.

“The distance I cover every morning and back home in the afternoon is unbearable. “If I had a choice, I would stop attending school,” he said. KZN basic education spokesperson Muzi Mahlambi said the department was aware pupils in the province have to walk long distances because there were no schools in their areas.

“We currently have a programme specifically looking at that problem, which is rife in rural areas.

“As much as we are committed to building schools in all such areas, we currently have a backlog,” he said. Mahlambi said a large chunk of the department’s budget was currently being spent on building new schools.

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