Sibbinda school without functioning toilets for 20 years

KATIMA MULILO: The Sibbinda Primary School in the rural parts of the Zambezi Region has been struggling without functional toilet facilities for years.

Without a functioning toilet at the school, over 310 learners and 11 staff members have been forced to use the nearby bushy spaces for over seven years.

This was confirmed by Sibbinda Primary School Principal, Harris Tuombale when speaking to Nampa on Friday prior to the donation of 30 laptops to the school.

Tuombale said numerous letters have been written to the Ministry of Education’s Zambezi Regional Directorate over the years, but the matter only recently received a favourable response.

He said that the lack of proper working toilets on the premises has been an embarrassment to deal with, especially for girls and female teachers, whose safety is a rising concern when visiting the bushes when ‘nature calls’.

Tuombale added that the toilet pits are broken and no longer flush, adding that the abandoned ablution block has become home to various reptiles and termites.

“The ablution facilities are old. They are as old as the school building built in 1965. There is no record of the facilities being maintained or replaced. The regional education office is well aware of this issue, as letters were sent highlighting this sanitation issue. Its only in late 2014 that the office promised to get it fixed,” he said.

A teaching staff member who declined to be named, said the issue of the broken toilets has been an on-and-off issue over the past 20 years.

“I have been working here for close to 20 years. The toilets have broken for a very long time, not just six years. Previously, we had to fix it ourselves but the repair costs became unbearable to get them functioning if they fail again,” said the teacher.

On a visit around the school, this reporter also observed broken windows, deep cracks on the wall, broken school chairs and tables for learners. The book storage is also broken and some chalkboards are partly dismounted from the walls they hang on.

On Friday, Sibbinda Constituency Councillor Ignatius Chunga, who was addressing the donation event, said the school toilet ablution blocks would be fixed during this year.

Chunga further promised learners that new classroom blocks would be built for them in order to address the overcrowding of classrooms.

New toilets facilities are being planned to be put up before the end of 2015.

The school is also earmarked to receive new additional school blocks.

“Government will continue working tirelessly to address any shortcomings at public institutions, “Chunga said.