Teachers accuse education official of blocking aid

MASERU — Teachers at a primary school near Thetsane are up in arms against the school’s administrator for allegedly failing to repair classrooms that were damaged in a storm last January.

Four classrooms at Likotsi Roman Catholic Primary School were severely damaged after a storm battered the school in January last year.

But, nearly two years later, the classrooms have still not been repaired.

Teachers at the Catholic-run primary school have alleged that efforts to repair the classrooms were being thwarted by the schools’ education secretary, Teboho Tolo.

The teachers also alleged that Tolo had deliberately turned down offers from well-wishers to fix the classrooms.

The school’s administrators have however rejected these allegations.

In an interview with the Lesotho Times last week the teachers said they had now been forced to conduct lessons in the few remaining classrooms.

The school principal, Moselane Tomolase, also confirmed that all was not well at the school.

Tomolase said the school had approached the education secretary to help repair the school without success.

“After the roof was blown away we told the education secretary about the situation but he turned down our appeals for funding,” Tomolase said.

“He said there were more schools ahead of us that needed to be maintained.”

The education secretary co-ordinates and manages all Catholic-run schools in Lesotho.

Teachers who spoke to the Lesotho Times on condition that they were not named alleged Tolo had turned down offers from companies that had offered to help repair the school.

“When it is windy we cannot let the children play outside since we fear that they could get hurt.

“We are scared that they might get hit by the remaining aluminum sheets,” one teacher said.

“The remaining classroom blocks are not in good condition either and they might also collapse on students any time.”

The teachers also alleged that they had been forced to use the school hall as a classroom to accommodate some of students.

“We cannot just close the school since we and the students would suffer.

“We would lose our jobs and the Catholic children would also suffer as this is the only Roman Catholic school around this area,” said one teacher.

The teachers also said that the school did not have a proper office for the principal and staff.

“We are using a room that was meant to be a kitchen as the office of the school. Students could also be in danger as the yard of the school has no fence,” said another teacher.

Tolo could not be reached for comment on the allegations.

However, the deputy education secretary, Molise Lekunutu, dismissed the teachers’ allegations as false.

“It is not true that the education secretary has turned down people who offered to help in renovating the school,” Lekunutu said in a terse response.

Likotsi Primary School has an enrolment of 460 pupils from about 11 surrounding villages.

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