‘I regret being born in Limpopo’
Schools still face shortfalls in sanitation and infrastructure and pupils are suffering.
BOLOBEDU - Teachers, principals and pupils in Limpopo say it's been yet another uncomfortable return to school this year.
The Education Department says it's provided more than 300 toilets for pupils throughout the province, but schools are still battling to cope with severe challenges.
For years the province has battled a textbook crisis, sanitation problems and dilapidated infrastructure.
Pupils wash their hands at Tsogang Primary in Ramadumo village.
More than half of the roof covering four classrooms at the Motsipa Secondary School in Bolobedu blew off during a thunderstorm last year.
The roof at Motsipa Secondary School in Bolobedu, Limpopo, blew off in February 2013.
The student governing body's Percy Ramaano says he's worried pupils will have to be sent home when it rains.
"We normally send learners home because we can't risk putting them in classrooms when it's raining. There's nothing we can do."
Hundreds of pupils at Tsogang Primary spent break time queuing to use the four fly-infested pit toilets.
A pit toilet at Motsipa Secondary School in Bolobedu.
Pupils describe the situation as humiliating.
"Teachers complain about us being late to class because there are so many of us sharing the toilets," says a grade nine pupil.
Tsogang Primary School in Ramadumo village.
Another grade nine pupil from Motsipa Secondary School told Eyewitness News he wishes he was never born in Limpopo.
The learner says the Education Department has turned its back on the province's children.
"I feel like I can cry right now. Limpopo," he says, "sometimes I regret why I was born in here."
He says while he's glad to have received his textbooks this year, it's little comfort considering his classroom has been without a roof for almost a year.
"I feel sad because when it rains, we're forced to go home and we do not get enough education."
Despite assurances from the department that plans are in place to assist these schools, teachers say they're not going to hold their breath.
Teachers and pupils alike say they're growing tired of begging for help from a department that doesn't seem to care.
Pupils assemble their classroom outside their Bolobedu school. All pictures Tara Meaney/EWN.