Stop the rot in education

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This week, we are running a story on the unpalatable condition of a school at Semonkong, where learners are forced to hurdle in a hut because a contractor who was engaged to build classrooms did a runner, leaving the school high and dry.

This is not the only school in Lesotho facing this predicament. A similar scenario is playing out at Qhobosheaneng Primary School at Lebakeng in Qacha’s Nek. There are a lot more, as a matter of fact. There is another one at Ha Thaba in Mantṧonyane.

Earlier this year we reported about how the ministry of education was still reeling from lost monies after payments were made for incomplete maintenance works at Ha Nthamaha High School in Mohale’s Hoek.

The maintenance works were to be carried out at the school included variations at the kitchen/dining hall and the construction of water supply in the year 2012. It emerged that the works on construction of water supply infrastructure were not complete while the furniture installed in the kitchen did not match the required standards.

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According to information in our possession, an amount of M384 000 was paid out by the ministry under the pretext that the catering equipment had been supplied to the kitchen/dining hall, with false pictures being attached to the certificate for works done.

The beneficiary, a construction company which was reported to have completed the work, was paid M2 093,041.

This is reminiscent of the widely publicised schools that were ‘built in the air’ just over a decade ago. Millions of (read donor) money was diverted and pocketed by gluttons in power while Basotho suffer. It is highly likely that the contractor who abandoned construction of Molatjeng Primary School received full payment, and is probably out there swindling the taxpayer of more money.

This has to stop. We would like to see everyone responsible for this theft of public funds probed and prosecuted. Finally, we pay tribute to the chief who has lent out his hut to the school to operate from.

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