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China-aided schools make education easily accessible for Botswana children

Updated: 2021-12-04 15:49 ( Xinhua )
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To go to her old school in the city, 11-year-old Katlego Tshuma used to wake up at 4 am on every school day to get prepared for a school bus that would take her to the school about 8 kilometers away from her home.

Tshuma lives in Mogoditshane, a small town located on the outskirts of Botswana's capital Gaborone. "It picked me up at 5 am because of the traffic congestion," she said.

But her old routine to wake up so early in the morning came to an end after she was transferred to the China-aided Mmopane Primary School in Mmopane village, which was inaugurated in January this year. Because the traffic to the new school is light during the morning, she never has to wake up so early again.

"Ever since I transferred to this school, I wake up at 5 am," she enthused.

What compels many children to wake up very early to travel to school is a lack of education facilities in some areas in Botswana, according to the Headmistress of Mmopane Primary School, Gagoitsiwe Marata.

"The construction and opening of the China-aided school in Mmopane have been a welcome development," said Marata.

Mmopane Primary School is one of the three primary schools China has aided in Botswana over the years, with the other two being Kubung Primary School and Serowe Primary School.

In the three China-aided schools functioning in the country, computer labs, science labs, disability-friendly facilities such as toilets, sick bays, libraries, dining halls, as well as football, basketball, and netball fields are common.

"These primary schools have everything you can think of that can benefit a child. Honestly, children are treated better than those in junior and senior schools," said Esther Maokisa, Headmistress of Kubung Primary School.

She said that the constant support in the form of regular school maintenance they have received from the Chinese Embassy to date has helped the school to excel in academic and cocurricular activities.

Overall, Kubung Primary is among the most excelling schools in the country since 2012. In 2018 for example, the school scored 97.3 percent in the national Primary School Leaving Examination. It also scored 75 percent and 83.3 percent in 2019 and 2020, respectively.

Keloreng Makata, a senior teacher at Kubung Primary, said many parents want their children enrolled in the school.

"We represented the northwest region in the national competition because of what the Chinese government had done. Our school has been producing competent students who have continued to do well in higher schools," Makata and Maokisa told Xinhua.

The three elementary schools aided by China have effectively improved educational conditions for children and strongly supported the development of Botswana's basic education, said Chinese Ambassador to Botswana, Wang Xuefeng.

On Oct 15, 2019, the groundbreaking ceremony for Kazungula Primary School was held in northern Botswana's Kasane town. It is the fourth primary school project aided by the Chinese government. The primary school is expected to host 560 students. Upon completion, it is expected to improve local education.

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