Public Service and Administration Minister, Senzo Mchunu handed over school shoes, scientific calculators, school bags and laptops to both learners and teachers of Mkhalipi High School as part of promoting the value of education in the remote areas of KwaZulu-Natal recently.

During the visit to Nhlwathi, Hlabisa, the Minister handed over 300 pairs of school shoes, 200 school bags, and 200 scientific calculators to the learners, all donated by Huawei South Africa.

The school aspired to move with time by introducing information technology as part of its curriculum, but cited lack of resources as one of their main challenges. As a result, Huawei South Africa further donated 20 laptops to the school.

Minister Mchunu who also described his back to school campaign to his hometown as a success, he is following the footsteps of the country’s late President Nelson Mandela who during his lifetime valued education.

The Minister who view education as a powerful weapon for freedom had this to say to the learners, teachers and members of the school governing body: “most, if not all the learners, have never had a laptop in front of them and that is very telling–not only for the acting principal and his staff, but also for the government as a whole, that we still are not conscious enough of the requirements of a classroom – equipping it accordingly.”

He also used his visit to engage with the School Management Team (SMT) on the day-to-day challenges faced by the school as well as its accomplishments to date.

Established in 1976, the school, which is under the leadership of acting principal, Sipho Luvuno, is the top achieving school in their circuit in terms of matric results, having achieved a pass rate of 96.07% in the 2020 academic year.

The school also scooped the 2021 Mayoral Excellence Award. While Covid-19 has required the school to operate on a rotational basis, there has been little to no disruption of classes, with only one positive case of an educator, who has since recovered.

The Minister appealed to learners and teachers to continue to be vigilant against the deadly Covid-19. “Continue wearing masks, social distancing and continue to vigilantly observe all the protocols. The setbacks caused by COVID-19 on the education of our children are great and detrimental, but we keep on working against these odds.”

He further encouraged learners to keep focused on their studies, not allow themselves to be distracted by their environment, upbringing and most challenges experienced by teenagers.

“South Africa still has to catch up in terms of our education standards with the rest of the world, particularly with Europe, the Americas and Asia. Those continents are by far, ahead of us. We need to guard the interests of the children and create an environment, which will enable them to advance. There are still some parts of the country that are still left behind and it is our job to ensure that we intensify our efforts in accelerating development – not only in respect of education, but all aspects of life.”