Regional Education Office,
Chief Representative and community leaders present,
Inspectors from the different ministries,
Single Tree Primary School’s Principal, Mr. Bheki Mahlambi
Principals from neighboring schools,
Members of the media,
Teachers, parents, and students,
All protocols observed.
I am so delighted to join you today as we showcase the U.S Government’s commitment in helping communities in Eswatini improve basic economic and social conditions at community level. We are here today to celebrate the remarkable efforts of the Single Tree Primary School community to improve the school facilities and create a conducive place for teaching and learning in the Shiselweni region.
In 2020, some of you may remember, we gathered here for the official hand over of a block of four classrooms which the U.S. Embassy helped construct. We were so impressed by your success, and by your drive to further improve the learning environment that we approved a second project for Single Tree Primary school to be funded under the Ambassador’s Special Self-Help Program. This time, the project requested funds to pay for the construction of an administration block. Through an award of 148,000 Emalangeni, plus contributions from parents and microproject partners, the school has been able to construct a standard administrative block, which we are here today to celebrate.
The successful completion of this project is a testament to the will and hard work of the Single Tree Primary School community. I am proud that the U.S. Embassy could support this vital project for the school and community.
Before the school had this dedicated administrative building, teachers needed to ask students to leave the classroom in order to convene a meeting during school hours. This was disruptive and not good for teachers, administrators, or learners. Also, in the past, because the previous administrative block was so small, it was almost impossible for the headteacher to have private discussions with learners, teachers, and parents. The old administrative block simply could not accommodate all the teachers, nor did it have a safe place to store learning materials and examination scripts!
This new administrative block will help school administrators run the school’s business processes so much more smoothly.
Now teachers can convene meetings without disrupting learners. And they can store learning materials and examination scripts in a safe place. Further, the block is positioned in a way to make it easy to identify outsiders before they can enter the school, which makes the environment safer for the children. Learners, teachers, and parents now enjoy privacy when having one-on-one sessions. There is no doubt that the presence of this administrative block will positively contribute to an environment that contribute to better educational outcomes overall.
One of the strengths of the Ambassador’s Special Self-Help Program is that it requires the community to contribute toward the funded project. Past studies have shown that communities tend to care more for projects that they have personally invested in. A community’s contribution can be in monetary form or non-monetary form, including labor and materials. The Single Tree Primary School community contributed bricks and labor to make this project a success.
Children are the future, and investing in their education is an investment in the future. Education is the key to eliminating inequality, reducing poverty, creating a sustainable planet, and fostering peace. Nelson Mandela said “Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world. …The power of education extends beyond the development of skills we need for economic success. It can contribute to nation-building and reconciliation.”
The U.S. is proud and honored to have partnered with you. I encourage parents, teachers, and learners to take good care of and maintain the school buildings, furniture, and equipment so that this facility serves the community for years to come. Let the next generation benefit from the investment we have made together.
Ngiyabonga. (Thank you).