Ward 16 residents have asked central Government and council authorities to build more public schools in the ward and expand the infrastructure to match the increase in population.
Peter Tanyanyiwa Suburban Reporter
A number of new suburbs have been developed in Ward 16 while new ones continue to crop up exerting pressure on the existing infrastructure such as water and sewer, health facilities, other services and schools.
According to the residents, the authorities have neglected Ward 16 as far as the construction of more schools and expansion of infrastructure in the ward is concerned.
The residents said the population has since tripled and more people continue to be allocated residential stands but the number of schools and other services are not being increased. The same goes for infrastructure, which has not been expanded to cater for the growing population. Residents said the situation was getting dire as it was now common to find 80 students in a single classroom at the public schools in the ward.
A resident who spoke to the Suburban said the population of Ward 16 has grown 10-fold since independence yet there is no corresponding development in social services and expansion or new infrastructure.
“It’s ridiculous that we now find 80 children in a single classroom. Ward 16 population has increased from 5 000 with three junior schools and two high schools to the size of a small town with just under 50 000 residents and not a single new school,” said the concerned resident, speaking on condition of anonymity.
Ward 16 residents have bemoaned that the ward is now over populated and there are no resources and infrastructure to cater for the current increased population.
In an interview recently, Zimbabwe Combined Residents and Ratepayers Association provincial coordinator Mr Lawrence Kuleya said the current infrastructure is now overwhelmed. He said the population of the ward has indeed increased and now matches those of the size of a small town.
“No new Government school has been built since 1980. It is true there are only three junior government schools which have been there since 1980 namely Hallingbury Primary School, Alfred Beit Primary School and Haig Park Primary School. The two high schools are Ellis Robins High School (a boys’ high school) and Mabelreign Girls High school. The whole ward depends on those schools regardless of the ballooning population,” he said.
“There has been no upgrading of any infrastructure not only pertaining to schools but the whole ward is served by one council district office, one clinic, one post office, one Zimbabwe Electricity Transmission and Distribution Company office and one police station. All these institutions are overwhelmed. A visit to Mabelreign shops will just show you how over populated this ward is now. One would easily think maybe there is a rally or function there whereas it will just be residents in the ward doing their shopping. No wonder why there are many problems in this ward,” said Mr Kuleya.
Some new private schools have been built in the ward but most parents cannot afford the fees.
Government has a programme under which it is building more schools and last year it completed 17 new schools in 15 districts across the country’s eight rural provinces.
The shortage of schools has seen the mushrooming of illegal institutions set up by business people taking advantage of the gap to offer services to parents and pupils.
Last year, the City of Harare’s development control unit ordered four schools operating illegally in Avondale to cease operations following complaints by residents.
One of the schools was operating from 3 Durham Road in Avondale West while the locations of the other three were not given.
Residents discovered that a Durham Road school was being run illegally at the premises and alerted council.
“Apparently this was pre-existing as Diligence Academy, I have been informed, operating from a slightly converted house. It failed first time around because it did not have qualified teachers and used some teaching assistants. One wonders how many students can fit into a residential house from junior (ECD level) through to A Level? Are proper permits and health certificates in place and if so how did they come to be issued originally in an area not zoned for schools? It’s located on the corner of Durham and Ayr roads,” said a resident.