500 learners share 2 classrooms: School appeals for assistance

Five hundred learners at Percy Ibbotson Primary School in Bulawayo are forced to share two classrooms due to a shortage of classrooms at the school with authorities appealing for assistance to construct more classrooms.

The school which is under Khami District in Luveve 5, Bulawayo, and used to be a rehabilitation centre for underaged children who had committed crimes, now enrols learners from Luveve, Cowdraypark, Lobengula, and Emakhandeni suburbs.

Currently, the school has an enrolment of 500 learners from ECD-A to grade 7.

Speaking to CITE, the acting headmaster Lingani Khumalo said the situation at the school was not conducive to learning.

“The Percy Home centre was opened in 1960 by Percy Ibbotson. When it started it was catering to children who were staying at the home and they were 25. In 1977 during inclusive education, all children who were staying closer to the home were now allowed to learn at the school,” she said.

“We get mostly vulnerable children as most of them do not have birth certificates and when they come here other schools would have rejected them. This is a social welfare school and we assist them to get birth certificates.”

 She said the school has no classrooms and uses two rooms which used to be skills rooms.

“The headmaster’s office used to be a laundry and ironing room for the inmates. The absence of infrastructure is now a challenge as the school has grown from the 25, we started with, we now have 500 learners and it is catering for ECD A to grade 7,” said Khumalo.

Khumalo said the school has 16 teachers and two general workers, the bursar, and the grounds lady who assist in cleaning the one available toilet.

“Ten children are from the home (Percy boys’ hostel,) 12 of them are from Luveve training centre and they are now staying here at Percy,” she said.

She added that responsible authorities from the Ministry of education, social welfare, and public works once met and all the necessary paperwork and approvals have been done.

“The site for construction of the classroom, toilets, and the kitchen because we cook in this school, have all been identified,” said Khumalo.

“The parents are also vulnerable parents, they cannot afford for us to construct a classroom, even though it was agreed through the SDC to include the project levy, most of the parents cannot afford to pay.”

Khumalo appealed for support to construct more classrooms to accommodate all the learners.

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