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350 pupils stranded as Central Equatoria school collapses

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September 19, 2013 (YEI) - At least 350 pupils of Lata primary school in Central Equatoria state’s Yei River county were stranded on Thursday after heavy rains destroyed their learning premises.

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Lata primary school in Otogo payam before its collapse (File/ST)

The pupils, according to officials, took refuge under trees, turning the areas into temporary classrooms so that lessons could resume.

Isaac Taban, the school head teacher said the weak structures collapsed because they could no longer withstand the heavy rains.

“The grass on the roofing got rotten and the poles were damaged”, he said.

“The challenge now is that pupils are learning under trees and when it rain comes at around 10:00 or 11:00 [AM] during working hours there is no space where I can put in the pupils,” added the headteacher.

He however disclosed that the school management committee, in collaboration with the community, plan to erect new grass thatched classrooms.

“It is impossible to put the pupils in people’s homes [and] that is why am moving up and down looking for ways to be helped so that pupils can learn”, said Taban.

He appealed to government and its partners to support the school administration as it recovers from the devastating effects of the heavy downpour.

A number of pupils expressed concerns about their future following the unexpected collapse of the 60-year old school.

South Sudan, which suffered decades of civil war, currently has one of the lowest literacy rates in the world, estimated at just 27%.

(ST)

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