The National Action for Quality Education in Zambia (NAQEZ) executive director Aaron Chansa says it is embarrassing to have a school named after Arthur Wina still using pit latrines.
And Basic Teachers Union of Zambia (BETUZ) spokesperson Kabika Kakunta says there is need for an urgent intervention at the school.
In an interview, Chansa expressed disappointment that Arthur Wina Primary School pupils had been subjected to using pit latrines, arguing that the historic name had been dented.
He urged the District Education Board (DEBS) to take swift action on the poor sanitary conditions.
“I know that school, they are using pit latrines? That is extremely very sad, especially in a place like Lusaka! We feel that the DEBS must move in and compel the school to construct better toilets because when you have such kind of toilets, it drives pupils away, especially the girls. So, the DEBS’ office must move in and also the Lusaka City Council (LCC) must visit this school and make sure that the administration is taken to task! We cannot be having such kinds of toilets in this day and age, especially in a place like Lusaka! We are extremely worried,” Chansa said.
He challenged school authorities to take full responsibility for subjecting pupils to pit latrines and not providing them with proper facilities.
“The school must explain why it has not done proper toilets for all these years that the school has been collecting school fees, and also, the Parent Teachers’ Association (PTA) must also be tasked why it has allowed this kind of toilets to exist in a school like Arthur Wina! It is extremely sad to hear that.”
He insisted that poor sanitation facilities should not be tolerated in the modern era.
“In Lusaka, we cannot have an explanation why we should have such kind of toilets, it’s not only denting the image of Lusaka in terms of education, but also denting the name Arthur Wina after which that school is named; it’s extremely embarrassing! I am sure the school should have the money to construct proper toilets, we need proper environment for the pupils; when the environment is not okay, it disturbs proper learning in the school, we need a conducive environment at all schools in order for our learners to concentrate and that is how quality education is going to be attained,” stressed Chansa.
Kakunta echoed Chansa’s sentiments that a healthy environment played a significant role in the learning process.
“Our position is that we cannot promote quality if, first of all, the learning environment itself does not support the provision of quality education. We say so in the sense that a learning environment has significant impact on a number of issues; one of them is the teacher performance even in terms of learner performance. The environment is one that can dictate that form of culture that our children will be able to develop within the learning environment because first of all, learning is not about the academic learning of books and so on and so forth, but the environment plays a significant role in shaping the lifestyle of our children, and I think If we have schools in Lusaka, a school like Arthur Wina, which is right in the midst of the city, I think it calls for urgent intervention for both the management of education system,” said Kakunta.
“As a union, we will be making a follow-up also to go and have a spot-check to see what is happening at Arthur Wina; it’s an issue that we think needs urgent attention by all stakeholders, the public, the teachers and education managers just to make sure that everyone takes keen interest to see how we can make sure that learning environment for our children, and also the teaching environment for our teachers, is conducive to provide quality teaching and learning.”