Gone are the days when Kuyasa’s Ludwe Ngamlana Primary School pupils had to walk long distances to access library services.
Now, thanks to NGO The Bookery, they have a new school library which was opened on Thursday March 23. Pupils and teachers heaped praises on the library, saying it would play a vital role in improving the school’s academic performance.
Deputy principal Xolani Ndamane said the school faced many difficulties in a variety of social and academic aspects.
He said their pupils were battling to read and write and with the donation of the library they aim to specifically address that issue.
He said one of the main challenges they had is that the nearest library is far from the school and pupils had to cross bridges and railway stations to access it.
As a result, he said, many parents refused to allow their children to go to the library as they were more concerned about their safety.
He said the school aimed to provide quality education but a lack of resources were hindering them.
He said their reading periods would now be conducted at the library and they have already drawn up a timetable to ensure that every class gets an opportunity to make use of the new room.
He believes that township schools have the potential to excel but only if they are provided with adequate resources. He said part of the school’s plans is to unearth storytellers and writers and now they believe that they will be able to do so.
Mr Ndamane said while government is solely responsible for education, the reality is it cannot be done alone and it needs organisations to assist.
“We are grateful for this library and we are going to ensure that we use this library effectively. We are also planning to open it during weekends and we are appealing to the community to protect it,” he said.
Mr Ndamane said if the basic tools a child needs to improve their school performances are not provided, the chances of that child succeeding are limited.
“I urge them to continue showing the spirit of Ubuntu,” he said about The Bookery.
Jonny Wilkinson, fundraising and communications officer at The Bookery, said libraries are an important asset for any school.
He said they are a place where children can improve their literacy, expand their understanding of the world and find enjoyment in reading.
Pointing out that every contribution, no matter how small, would go a long way in helping the country realise its goal of achieving better education, Mr Wilkinson said at least 85 percent of our public schools do not have functional libraries and it is worse in impoverished communities. He adds that this shortage is prioritised by the government.
In an effort to address this problem, he said: “We provide functional libraries to under-resourcedpublic primary schools in various townships. In townships there few places to learn and many housesholds do not have books.”
Grade 7 pupil, Entle Lentore, 13, said now she won’t have to walk long distances to go to the library and after school she will do her homework at school.
She vows to now be a bookworm and she hopes that the library would be opened during the weekends as well.
Entle said she always had to ask her parents to accompany her when she wanted to go the local library because it was far and she feared for her safety. At times, she said, when her parents were busy, she was unable to go to the library, but now she was over the moon with joy about their new school library.