CHAMBO NGâ€™UNI, Kabwe
ON A chilly morning, pupils and their parents excitedly gathered at Kangâ€™omba Primary School in Kabwe. It was a special day in Kangâ€™omba area, one of the 15 wards in Bwacha Constituency, such that members of the rural community suspended their morning chores to witness the switching on of power.
The electrification project, which was funded through the constituency development fund (CDF) at a cost of K109,000, has seen Kangâ€™omba Primary School becoming the latest rural school in Kabwe to have electricity.
Located on the fringes of Kabweâ€™s central business district (CBD) Kangâ€™omba Primary School was established in 2007 as a community school because children in the area were covering long distances to access primary education.
The other schools in the ward are Justine Kabwe Primary which runs from grade one to nine and Mary Macrushe Community School.
Located about 10 kilometres from Kabweâ€™s CBD, Kangâ€™omba Primary School is now under the Ministry of General Education which hopes to upgrade the learning institution into a secondary school.
Since inception, the school whose motto is â€˜Education for Emancipationâ€™ has been experiencing many challenges among them the shortage of classrooms, teachers, lack of electricity, lack of teachersâ€™ houses, inadequate water and limited land.
With five classrooms, the school has a population of 936 pupils, meaning that the learners are sharing limited space during their lessons while their 12 teachers also work in a stressful environment.
Actually Kangâ€™omba Primary School was among the schools in Kabwe that were least considered in terms of having electricity because it is located in a rural area.
However, the impossible has happened, the school now has electricity. The community is elated about the development.
The people staying around the school are eager to have their houses connected to the national grid.
Kangâ€™omba Primary School head teacher Evaristo Mumbi is cheered with the electrification of the school saying it is a positive development.
â€œWe have won this struggle, we now have power (electricity),â€ an excited Mr Mumbi said. â€œThis is also good for the future generations.â€
Electricity will facilitate the effective teaching of subjects like information communication technology (ICT) and home economics, Mr Mumbi noted.
For the Ministry of General Education, the electrification of Kangâ€™omba Primary School has made a big difference in uplifting the standards of education.
â€œI am happy about this development we have seen here at Kangâ€™omba Primary School Jennifer Banda, the Central Province education officer said. â€œWe have seen the school electrified.â€
Mrs Banda observed that electricity will enhance the quality of teaching and education at the school.
Deputy Minister of Higher Education Sydney Mushanga said the electrification of the school is â€œa successful storyâ€ because it has created a forum where pupils will improve in their studies because of light.
â€œI am very happy that the dream for Kangâ€™omba Primary School getting electrified has become a reality today,â€ Mr Mushanga said.
Mr Mushanga who is also a former MP for Bwacha Constituency said electrifying of the school will also contribute to the implementation of the new curriculum.
â€œGrade five pupils now should practice home economics and not just theory,â€ Mr Mushanga said.
He said electricity is a sign of development, and in future, houses around the school will also have electricity.
Arnold Kalulu, the school head boy said the pupils are happy that their school now has electricity.
â€œWe are happy that we now have electricity,â€ Arnold, 17, said in an interview.
Arnold who is in grade eight said pupils will now be able to study in the evenings and they have subjects such as Information and Communications Technology (ICT) which are practical subjects and require electricity.
Arnold observed that lack of electricity was one of the major problems affecting development in Kangâ€™omba ward.
Highlighting the genesis of the project, Bwacha Constituency CDF committee chairman Bernard Chikuka explained that the community in Kangâ€™omba applied for funding for electrification project in 2014.
The CDF committee allocated K109, 000 for the project and Zesco undertook the project.
â€œWe are happy to see that finally power has been connected to Kangâ€™omba Primary School,â€ Mr Chikuka said.
Kabwe Municipal Council (KMC) town clerk Ronald Daka said the electrification of the school is a milestone development which will also benefit the local people living near the school.
He noted that electricity has spill over effects such as development in other areas and that KMC will support the community in Kangâ€™omba ward in improving the living conditions.
Mr Daka urged the community to help the Kangâ€™omba Primary School with land for expansion of the learning institution.
And to respond to shortage of classrooms, the Parents Teachers Association and school management are building a one classroom block, but the project has stalled because of lack of funds.
â€œWith the introduction of grade eight and nine classes, the number of pupils has increased but we have inadequate classrooms,â€ Mr Mumbi added.
As a contribution towards the construction project, Mr Mushanga donated 10 pockets of cement to the school.
Mr Mushanga further urged people with houses around the school to relocate elsewhere to create room for construction of houses for teachers and expansion of the school.
Mr Mushanga also urged the community to safeguard electricity at the school against vandalism.
However, Kangâ€™omba ward has no secondary schools; therefore, pupils are who are in grade 10, 11 and 12 cover long distances to reach secondary schools such as Kabwe Secondary School and Highridge Secondary School.
Now that the former community school which has grown to have classes from grade one to grade nine and now has electricity, prospects of upgrading it into a secondary are in sight.
â€œThis is a big opportunity (electrifying) for the school to grow into a secondary school so that children donâ€™t cover long distances,â€ Ms Banda, the provincial education officer said.
â€œThe project should extend to homes so that children enjoy further benefits to continue studying at homeâ€.
Kangâ€™omba geared for evening literacy classes
CHAMBO NGâ€™UNI, Kabwe