The Bulungula Incubator has invested much time and resources in building classrooms to house the local government primary school. However, we are deeply disappointed by the fact that the quality of education within these new classrooms remains exceptionally poor.

The school has no principal and the teaching staff are frequently absent (in fact, some of the staff have been absent more days than they have been present over the past six months). It is totally unacceptable that the children of Nqileni are being denied their right to a quality education.

We have renewed our efforts to address this education crisis – especially because the children from our Grade R class will be moving to Grade 1 at No-ofisi in the new year. The quality of education that the preschool children are getting at Jujurha far exceeds the quality of education they will receive at No-ofisi. In fact, our Grade R children are demonstrating numeracy and literacy skills that are more advanced than many of the Grade 1 and 2 learners at No-ofisi.

As part of our efforts to support No-ofisi, we have been facilitating weekly workshops with the school governing body. The workshops began with a visioning process – painting a picture of what we want No-ofisi to look like by the end of 2010. We then identified the various challenges (the “boulders in the road”) to getting to our destination. We are systematically working our way through these.

The road has already been a long one – members of the SGB have recorded their efforts to address the crisis at the school and many of these efforts date back to 2005! It is difficult for the SGB to remain motivated when they have had so little success in their efforts with the teachers, the acting principal and the district office.

In their latest attempt (a week ago) to get support from the circuit manager, the SGB travelled 2 hours to the district office, waited outside the office for 4 hours (constantly being told that the circuit manager was ‘about to arrive’) and then travelled two hours home, having been unsuccessful in meeting the circuit manager. They did however leave behind a letter detailing their concerns and requesting urgent intervention. If they do not get a response from the circuit manager, the same letter will be forwarded to the regional manager and, if necessary, beyond….

The delivery of a decent standard of education in this remote rural village is long overdue. The Jujurha Early Learning Centre has provided the community with an experience of quality education, and parents are now rightfully demanding this level of quality from No-ofisi.