Ministry of Education
Wed, 01/28/2015 - 13:49

As we mentioned before on this site the Ministry of Education has taken over responsibility for the school. This doesn't mean that suddenly there is plenty of money available but it does mean that the Ministry makes - apart from paying the staff salaries - funds available for stepwise expansion of the school and for adapting it to the local needs. The contribution of the Ministry becomes, for example, visible in the recently installed science lab.

The school also got a water pump. Previously water had to be collected from the nearby river.

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The Ministry is also going to build staff houses for the increasing number of teachers. It is important that staff lives nearby the school. Not only because transport is often a major problem but also because it makes participation of staff in extracurricular activities more likely and easier. Activities like that are important because they contribute to the social cohesion in the region. Moreover, the existence of a connected community is under pressure now that many new people come and live in the area because of the nearby Chinsali being the new provincial capital. Also the expanding city makes some of the traditional farmers move to other areas. The overall result is that a new community feeling has to be built up. The school can play an important role in this process.

The pictures above show - on the left - the call for tender for building a staff house and two previously constructed staff houses (the construction of those was sponsored by the Dutch foundation Joy of a Toy).

The photo at the left shows - at the background - the administration block. It has been completed last year. SOZ sponsored the construction of the administration block for two reasons: one, administrative facilities and a staff room are essential for a school, and, two, by having common facilities like this the chance of getting a degree of integration between the academic secondary school and the vocational trade school would increase. For reasons of efficiency and a higher appreciation of vocational education the integration was considered essential for a school in a rural area like Kalwala. Meanwhile the Ministry has adopted a new school structure in which academic and vocational are fully integrated into a new Secondary School. After primary school all pupils can find a suitable program to continue their education.

The art teacher has decorated the assembly ground with a statue of 'the student'.

In previous progress reports we mentioned the Schoollunch project sponsored by School Support and Beyond. The objective of the project is to give all approximately 1000 pupils and students a healthy meal halfway the day. Without this most of them won't have anything to eat because they live too far away. On the photos the nearly completed kitchen is shown. The photo on the right shows the fireplace where the food is cooked; the wood is pushed in from outside to keep the fire going. The last month of 2014 students were getting maize porridge for lunch. In 2015 vegetables and beans will be added to the menu.

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As part of the Schoollunch project also a dining hall will be built. The size of the hall - which, by the way, is also going to be used for after school activities - is such that specifically the roof construction was quite a challenge. Of course project management could have asked a company from Lusaka to come and do the job but preference was given to having the school do it herself with the students of the bricklaying course. In that way valuable knowledge and skills would be built up. Unfortunately this choice caused some delay because the calculated number of roof beams was too low. Like often in learning situations one can ask the question: what is more important, the product or the (learning) process? The students that are now eating their meal under some shelter will probably go for the product!

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The rains have come. That means maize has to be planted so that in a few month the food for the year to come can be harvested. That was how it was going traditionally and that is how its going now in the school garden as part of the Schoollunch project. In general there is enough rain between November and March to produce a good crop. But there are also years that there is less water. Therefor it is the intention to irrigate the school gardens in the future with water from the nearby artificial lake.

Finally: the school is in the process of setting up its own foundation. The foundation will take care of all further projects related to the school. One of the first activities of the new foundation will be the realization of a girls - and later on a boys - dormitory for those that come from so far that it is impossible to go home every day. About the foundation and the project we will report on this website in the months to come.