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PRESIDENT Hakainde Hichilema’s resolve to ensure that no learner should be sitting on the floor has seen a robust countrywide programme to ensure that schools are provided with proper furniture.

This has been supported by the enhanced Constituency Development Fund that has placed the burden of providing desks on the local leadership instead of the central government.

Thus throughout the country, constituencies have embraced the idea and gone out of their way to ensure that the idea becomes a reality by contracting cooperatives and other entities to supply desks.

But while this is being done, it is important that the newly acquired desks and other requisites are looked after properly to ensure that resources are spent on other needs of the constituencies as well.

We therefore agree with the Wusakile Member of Parliament, Mr Pavyuma Kalobo when he calls on parents and the communities to work with school authorities in curbing thefts and vandalism of newly-procured desks and other school property.

Obviously, Mr Kalobo could not have mentioned this if it were not a problem in the constituency.

It would not be fair on the part of taxpayers if their money spent to improve standards in schools goes to waste through vandalism.

These are community-owned properties such that their safe-keeping should not be left to the central government.  The local communities ought to ensure that they help in looking after them by working with the school authorities.

We agree with Mr Kalobo that reports of thefts and vandalism of newly-procured desks were not only sad, but were also retrogressive. The government is spending a lot money on procuring the desks which end up being stolen or vandalised by some members of the community. 

We do not want to hear that the 165 desks the MP handed over at Chamboli Primary School last Friday have been stolen or vandalised.

“Government, through the Constituency Development Fund has spent a of money to procure these desks and so I expect these desks to be guarded jealously,” he said during the handover.

Mr Kalobo is right that the parents and other members of the community should help school authorities to curb the thefts and vandalism of newly-procured desks because they live with the people who were involved in such retrogressive and criminal activities. 

This is because it is the learners who suffer the discomfort of not having proper furniture which also affects their education in the long run.

There is no way a child can be expected to concentrate at school when the learning environment is not conducive.

But instead of complaining about vandalism, Mr Kalobo and other MPs could organise their constituents into forming security committees to help look after the desks and other infrastructure.

They must stress that the property belongs to the local communities and they have a primary duty to look after it.  They must dismiss the narrative that it is owned by Government.

In this way, they would find that there are other compelling needs in their constituencies which require funding as opposed to making the buying of desks as an annual programme.

Thus, they must stop vandalism.


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