I was at C.G.H.U Primary School which is along Ronald Ngala Street opposite Nakumatt Supermarket for a student demo. All the students had settled for the demo. I had greeted them and introduced Eneza Education. “Boom boom!” We heard gunshots. Suddenly, none of us could breathe, we all had tears and running noses. I tried to open my eyes but they were so painful. All the children had tears but none of them seemed scared or in shock. This probably showed it was not the first time they had been through a similar situation.The policemen must have thrown tear gas near the school. We later learned that there were commotions at the Jack and Jill Supermarket as the owners were vacating and civilians were trying to rob the shop. Jack and Jill Supermarket is behind the school where all the windows face. All students scrambled as they reached for the exit which happened to be a small door. The teacher and I led them out one by one to avoid a stampede.
It kept me wondering what these children have to endure when schooling at city centre. The loud noises of vehicles hooting and the town crowd while they are in class, the danger of having to cross the busy roads in town as they get in and out of school, the risk they could face in case there are riots in town and they have to go home, the fear they get when they see policemen holding guns along the street in times of chaos and insecurity considering their tender age among others other problems.
But what I saw in them was a strong will to learn despite the situation and the love from their teachers was overwhelming, they stick with them through thick and thin and in times of chaos in town, they have to wait until the air clears for them to let the students go home. Could all these factors contribute to their low grades due to distractions? I was left wondering.
The school is however facing the risk of being closed as the number of the students it enrolls yearly continues to decrease. It’s not the first time a school has been closed down at the city centre due to its enrollment number being so low even to the zero level. We have a number of primary schools at the city centre who enroll quite a number of students. They continue being our heroes as they operate in an unconducive environment which is the city centre but they keep their heads high and help student study hence improving their future. They are surely small schools with a big heart.
Community Relations Coordinator,