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Thursday, 24 July 2008

Constraints on rural education (teacher accommodation)

Yet another example, why Lilian Kapulu's recent threats to blacklist newly-recruited teachers who refuse to take up rural appointments are hollow. Its quite obvious from Nkombo Kachemba's report that one of the key constraints for rural education is lack of decent accommodation. Addressing that constraint should be at the forefront of addressing rural teacher shortage. Excerpt :

Teachers deployed in rural areas usually abandon their postings due to lack of accommodation. This as a result frustrates Government’s efforts in providing good quality education to school going children in rural areas. Most teachers argue that in rural areas, houses are few forcing some of them to be sharing accommodation. Others contend that most houses are dilapidated and do not have essential facilities like water and sanitation.

Despite calls by Government to have all teachers report to their respective schools, the number of teachers shunning rural schools has increased.

A recent visit to Kalala Upper Basic School in Chibombo district revealed some of the hardships that teachers in rural areas go through. The school has 16 teachers against four staff houses which are supposed to carter for all of them. Most teachers share accommodation and others have to travel five kilometres to were their houses are, a situation which has raised concern among school authorities.

Others live in what they call ‘quarters’, these are small rooms with no proper sanitation and accommodate two or three teachers. The houses have no ventilation, the walls have cracks and the ceiling usually leaks during the rainy seasons.

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