Site-Visit-Nchunchenko-Primary-School,-Case-Study-6

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					Site Visit Nchunchenko Primary School, Case Study 6
Principal Mr Nkuma
Average School Size 900+
Average Class Size 40+


Category Peri-Urban Primary School (within Pretoria metropolis)
Location: , Shosonguve- Township, Pretoria North, Gauteng Province
Year of Construction/opened: 2004 (existed on earlier site beforehand)

Date(s) of Visit: Thursday 16th August 2007
Research Visitors: Ola Uduku eca Liteboho Mphutlane CSIR

Survey Techniques Used
Informal, recorded Interviews
- with staff, students, school governing board members, local community

Photographic surveys
- of school and surrounding environment

Gathering of school performance information
- CSIR has access to school plans, and school enrolment data


Summary
Nchuchenko school exists in a township, north of Pretoria, which has been settled by a
mixed ethnic population comprising Shangan., SeSothu, Venda (which makes up the
township name) and other language groups. It is a main supplier of labour to industries
and service providers in the Guateng;Johannesburg / Pretoria area. It replaced an older
school that existed in poorer circumstances in the neighbourhood. Designed prior to the
new education policy in 1994, it has been built in 3 separate phases, is currently well
attended and has a good record in sports and other extra curricular activities. It however
suffered from overcrowded teaching spaces for pupils and needed more sports grounds
and other facilities for the school. Its perimeter fencing on one side is lined with informal
settlements that form a secondary barrier or wall to the school.

Design and Innovation
The school is designed to the same norms and standards of the historic DET schools. This
meant that the first phase classroom blocks were considerably smaller in size than the
more recent additions. There are few design innovations to the school, it functions as a
typical primary school with a number of ancillary facilities that exist on site. This
includes the computer lab and the non-functioning library. The school is however
contributed to quite effectively by the parents who are involved with the School
Governing Body (SGB). This includes their employment of a community member as a
security guard to look after the security of the school. The school also made use of a tin
informally constructed building for one of its Reception classes, which had also been
contributed by the SGB. They had also helped with the paving of the main courtyard of
the school and were currently engaged in putting up perimeter fencing around the school.


The school had just been designated a no-fee school. It did not have ABET facilities on
site, but did have a Grade R class, and this would be upgraded to the government norm of
9mx15m for each classroom. The school was well subscribed, and took the ‘A’ list
candidates from the catchment area and some ‘B’ list candidates from elsewhere. The
school did have a computer centre.

Stakeholder Opinions
The principal was fairly happy with his school. The design was adequate, and the spacing
in the classrooms worked, however there were large members of students, which
sometimes made teaching difficult. The computer lab worked, and students were
relatively well behaved. He felt that the resources were adequate, although he and his
staff were considering introducing TVs in classrooms, but there was the issue of potential
theft. The key built infrastructure lacking was a functioning library. The SGB was also
active and had helped with the equipping of the Reception classroom and also with the
employment of an extra teacher. This meant that average class numbers were now 40
pupils per classroom. He reported that there hadn’t been many thefts. The school was
short on storage, as one study room had to be converted into a store. There were problems
with broken furniture but the SGB had undertaken to have them repaired.

Sanitation and WCs were ok, however there were no designated cleaners for the WC
areas, and students were expected to clean them, which was difficult at primary level. He
observed that the state only employed one caretaker, and no cover was in place when
caretakers went on leave. The community he said would only help out with such duties if
they were paid. There was a school gardening scheme in place, and poorer parents were
encouraged to become involved in the gardening, and sell produce back to the school. He
thought that the idea of a community library was good, and that there were students who
would be interested in using the facility.

On Sundays, classrooms are rented out to local church groups. Also community members
rent out rooms for social functions, such as weddings at weekends. Two classrooms can
be merged together to form a large classroom/hall area, which is used by the church
groups. The school playing fields were also used for soccer, netbeall and other activities
during the weekends. The state only employed a security guard during school hours, and
on Thursday nights. However the community helped with funding the employment of a
local security guard to complement the government funded employee, and also with the
funding of two Reception (‘R’)-grade teachers.

The staff generally concurred with the Principal’s views. They pointed out it was a
relatively poor community and many parents could not assist their children with
homework etc, and found discipline difficult. The felt also they needed time to see and
talk with students individually which currently wasn’t built into the school day.
The SGB member interviewed also helped with cooking on the school’s government
funded school feeding scheme. She was generally happy with the school. She felt the
school could give students more textbooks and computers. Also the school might have a
stadium for sports development. The need for a larger school hall, and better library was
also mentioned. Also the SGB had been trying to fence in the school and needed funds to
complete this. The idea of community access to computers was thought good. It was
mentioned that there were problems with taps in the toilet blocks, (they kept needing
repairs).

Generally the SGB worked well, and they were able to deliver projects such as the paving
of the internal courtyards of the school and help with maintenance. The group were
looking to fundrasie further to have small shops on site, and complete the fencing. There
were also negotiations underway to have an after school feeding scheme, similarly there
was a clothes exchange for children who found it difficult to buy school uniforms.

They and the teachers both agreed the school had very little problems with security, and it
was felt that school farms would be a good idea and the local community could be better
engaged if they were employed as WC cleaners and in other capacities within the school
(by the education department).

Student Views
The students interviewed all liked their school, they also mentioned the need for a hall,
better sports facilities, including a sports pavilion, a school bus and a library. When
pressed they said a library was the facility that they most wanted, as it would improve
their learning. The students did feel that it was a good idea to have the library open to the
community for use during after school hours. They did not express strong fears about the
fheft of equipment, they felt if there was good enough security there would be no theft.

Analysis:
The school seemed to have a strong SGB influence which showed in its supplementing
the basic infrastructure provided by the local government with SGB-funded facilities and
staffing. Good use was being made of facilities provided such as the computer room,
however there was still little engagement with the community in after school activities,
except for the farming initiative. Stakeholders were more relaxed about security issues.
The principal remarked that the informal dwellers at the perimeter of the school were
quick to inform staff or the security guards if intruders were found on the premises. Also
the community members and SGB board were positive about having the school open
more to the community.

Analysis and Key Issues:
Stakeholders would like to make more use of school for educational/out of school
purposes
- stakeholder interviews

The school has sanitation problems
- photographic evidence and interviews
Current design suggests that existing school could be adapted to allow community use of
some facilities without compromising the security of the entire school
- photographic and actual view of proposed computer room

Possible further incorporation of informal settlement dwellers into the corpus or body of
the school; to act as informal security /surveillance mechanism – without the usual
security mechanisms involving alarms and full salaried guards
- idea discussed with headmaster and staff

				
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Description: Site-Visit-Nchunchenko-Primary-School,-Case-Study-6