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Good Hope students leave school in protest

SHARE   |   Sunday, 20 July 2014   |   By Keitebe Kgosikebatho
Good Hope bus rank Good Hope bus rank

Boarding school students at Good Hope Senior Secondary School are said to have left the school premises on Wednesday after almost all teachers and students at the institution were hit by a diarrhea.
The walk-out by students was apparently meant to show their displeasure at the distasteful state the school is in and failure by management to redress the situation.

Teaching and learning came to a halt on Monday at the School as multitudes of students thronged the nearby clinic complaining of what was suspected to be diarrhea thought to have been caused by pounded meat (seswaa) they had on Sunday.

According to a teacher at the school who preferred to remain anonymous for fear of being castigated by school authorities about 400 students were reported to be affected by Tuesday. A majority of those affected are said to be female students. Luckily enough all those affected were treated and discharged back to the school. The doctor in charge at Good Hope Primary Hospital has also declared the situation to be under control.  Teachers and students were however not allowed to leave school premises, apparently to stop the spread of the outbreak to the wider Good Hope community.
At the core of the complaints forwarded by the students and their teachers to the school management is the adverse shortage of water within the school, an occurrence which many suspect could be the cause of the suspected food poisoning. The situation is said to be so bad that students at times go for several days without food.

The school has had water shortage problems since it was opened in 2008. The situation, according to sources, is aggravated by the fact that the whole school ; kitchen, ablutions, students hostels and teachers’ quarters are on water-system meaning  that when  there is water shortage everything comes to a standstill.

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On the day it started, our source disclosed, students and teachers had during the day been taking part in sports activities in the school and thereafter had lunch together, prepared at the school kitchen. “There was pandemonium as both students and teachers who devoured the traditional delicacy had to be rushed to the hospital which in its nature as a primary hospital could not cope with the overwhelming situation,” revealed the source.

The Friday incident is said to have now evoked further resistance from both students and teachers with the latter using the temporary platform created to advance their grievances to school management and other relevant authorities. “The students are justified to be complaining. The state in which their hostels, ablutions and the other areas in which they reside is very distasteful,” the source said. The ablution area in the girls’ hostels tops the list in all the areas affected by the water shortage in the school. So bad is the situation that it is said at one point the local clinic complained that there was a high number of Sexually Transmitted Infections from female students in the school only to later discover that the infections were not actually sexually transmitted but were resultant from compromised hygiene in their ablutions.

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By press time, efforts to reach school authorities and the Ministry of Education officials drew a blank as their phones were not answered.