Education is not preparation for life; Education is life itself ~John Dewey
SLANGSPRUIT PRIMARY SCHOOL CHOIR
During Apartheid, everything was segregated by race, including education, with ‘Black education’ being impoverished on every level and unfortunately, it languishes thus today.
All education, besides very privileged private schools, is run by the government’s Department of Education (DoE). What were schools exclusively for white students are multiracial in the new South Africa and are school-fee paying schools and receive a meager stipend from the DoE. They require school fees to function and to continue to offer quality education with smaller class sizes, diversity of subject, more teachers, sport and extra-curricular activities.
Underprivileged schools in the Townships that educate impoverished black children are school fee exempt. They languish, totally under resourced; no libraries or computer labs, large class sizes and no sports facilities. Slangspruit Primary School is one such school, which is why Ukulapha chose to collaborate with them and fuel hope and opportunity.
Slangspruit Primary School was constructed in 1990 and Mr Msomi arrived in 1995 as department head, promoted to principal in 1998. The school sits on a small piece of land in the heart of Slangspruit Township which is southwest of the city of Pietermaritzburg, the capital of the province of KwaZulu-Natal.
The school has a student body of 1040 learners from kindergarten to grade 7, housed in 27 classrooms. The classrooms are built in 3 blocks, free standing, no connecting walkways or protected/covered area. The administrative building stands separately. Fortunately the DoE built a separate classroom block for the kindergarten/grade R school children, with their own toilets and playground, behind the administrative building, fenced and secure.
The buildings are very basic, no shelving or cupboards in the classrooms; the grounds were never paved, no storm water drainage installed, no kitchen, no sports facilities, no hall/protected meeting place, no library or any other educational enhancements.
Mr Msomi, has 1 deputy and 3 department heads (HOD) and 1 school secretary. Were you to visit any privileged school with this student body you would find significantly more support staff.
Mr Msomi is an amazing man, quiet, gentle, dedicated, principled, resilient, a leader with plenty of fortitude and the best interests of the students at heart. It is such a pleasure to work with him and this school.
He will say that it took a while to trust the intention and work of Ukulapha, and that seems like such a long time ago now. Our working relationship and collaboration is sterling and a pleasure.
ABOUT SLANGSPRUIT PRIMARY SCHOOL
SUPPORT FOR SLANGSPRUIT PRIMARY SCHOOL
Ukulapha started its partnership with Slangspruit Primary School in 2009 and since we follow a human rights based approach to development, it made sense for us to work with the school since, under one roof, we could touch many lives, those of the children and thereby their families. By improving teaching and learning conditions, the teaching staff were also included.
The very first thing we did was install an intercom system so that Mr Msomi could communicate with the classrooms without having to leave his desk.
The school’s infrastructure was in serious need of attention, and you will see from the photos what needed repair and what we accomplished. Many broken windows, broken ceilings, ruptured roof membranes causing lots of leaking, broken doors, broken or non-existent gutters, broken toilets, poor plumbing, broken desks, no classroom shelving, dangerous electricity connections and fittings or none. We painted every classroom and the children returned to school for the new school year with a fresh school!
Ukulapha has helped provide school uniforms for those in need so they can look neat and smart and have some dignity amongst their peers.
The Resource Centre:
Our large project, thanks to the women of WHEAT Canada and the Ukulapha fundraising team in Victoria, Canada.
A modular structure was erected June of 2013, that is now the Resource Centre which houses room for a library, a 16 seat computer center and an office.
The 2 school grounds men plus 2 men from the community spent many days clearing and preparing the land. We had to remove 3 trees, many rocks and level the ground, pour loads of crushed stone. The trucks arrived containing the modular units and within a couple of days, the structure was installed.
SLANGSPRUIT PRIMARY SCHOOL TEACHERS