HARARE - The school looks like any other institution of learning in rural Zimbabwe. Consisting of two dilapidated buildings with unpainted walls, and a small office which the headmaster uses, the school has nothing to show for its 53 years of existence.
The two blocks used to have four classrooms each, until termites invaded the two classrooms in the second block and the school administration decided to raze them down.
But Barasimbe Primary School has a positive story that comes from the hard work of the teaching staff.
Since its establishment, the school caters for a small number of children from the small-scale farming community.
The current enrolment stands at 131 children covering two Early Child Development classes and Grade one up to seven.
The school is situated in Zvimba area in Zowa district. Only one bus plies the area and this poses problems for the school.
Until recently, the school’s pass rate has been dismal.
In 2012, Barasimbe Primary School had a zero percent pass rate at Grade 7. In 2013, the pass rate jumped to 72,6 percent, owing to a dedicated staff and the Midas touch of a new acting headmaster, Simbarashe Matafare, 31, who heads a five member team
Zowa District Councillor, Norbert Mapepa. Pic: Margaret Chinowaita
“The government’s desired teacher- child ratio is 1 teacher to 40. Typically, one teacher takes two classes, facing in opposite directions. For example one teacher instructs grades one and two in the same class but with different boards. These are called composite classes.”
The teachers are often drained from teaching two classes and sometimes this does not allow teachers to attend to those who require colas attention. The school used to have a high turnout of teachers, given the hardships.
All five schools in Zowa District, Zvimba are electrified but Barasimbe was the only one left. Matafare said this lack of electricity was one of the major reasons why teachers left, causing very low pass rates.
The school applied for electricity under a government initiative of rural electrification and it was successful. “We got electricity lines and a transformer from the Rural Electrification Agency. We now require $3 800 for the contractor to finish the whole process of electrifying the school,” said Matafare.
Parents of some school children donated bags of maize and small amount of cash amounting to meet the contractor’s fees.
However, this was not enough and the School Development Committee (SDC) and the school administration decided to approach different companies for cash donations.
SDC Chairman Godfrey Usavihwevhu said: “We approached different companies including African Distillers (Afdis) who donated $2 000 to the school.
Albert Chitapi, Afdis marketing, sales and distribution director said.
“We noticed that parents made contributions to avail electricity at the school and we were touched. We decided to contribute to this noble cause ,albeit in a small way, because children are the leaders of tomorrow.”
The Daily News on Sunday visited the school at the invitation of Afdis. The school children choir sang hearty songs in appreciation of the donation.
Councillor of ward 27 in Zvimba rural council, Norbert Mapepa donated 50 chicks and a 50kg of starter feed .
“I decided to donate these chicks so that the school can have a poultry section for income generation.