|Chinese Construction Company: Job Well Done|
TUTUME - Minister of Infrastructure, Science and Technology, Mr Johnny Swartz said the construction of additional secondary schools in Botswana is part of government initiatives to improve the transition rate from junior to senior secondary schools.
Officiating at the handing over of Nata Senior secondary school on Thursday, he said for sometime government has been concerned that majority of students only end up at junior level because they could not be absorbed into the few senior school that existed, which ultimately affected transition rate to tertiary education.
He said the completion of Nata Senior School and three others at Shakawe, Mogoditshane and Mmadinare will help relieve the congestion in other senior secondary school and even enable admission of students closer to their homes.
Mr Swartz also commended Unik Construction Company for finishing the project within budget and scope despite the fact that the contractor was at some point given 17 weeks of extension, saying it is a good development to note that ever since government got tough with companies that do not deliver projects in time and within budget, the companies have started delivering.
He also revealed that lack of resources has forced government to scale down the school, which was constructed at the cost of P557 million from the initial P827 million.
Mr Swartz urged all the stakeholders involved that it is their responsibility to ensure that the school is taken care of, and urged teachers to report any defects they notice to the Department of Buildings and Engineering Services so that the contractor can be called to correct them while the project is still within the liability period.
He said if the defects are not reported in time before the liability period elapses, then it will cost government a lot of money as she will have to pay for the correction of the defects.
The Deputy Ambassador from the Chinese Embassy, Mr Haodong Gou commended the government of Botswana, saying the construction of the school is an indication of good governance that enables national resources to be spread across the rest of the country to benefit all citizens.
He said the magnitude of the school, which he said is the size of some universities in China, is also an indication that the government of Botswana takes education seriously.
Mr Gou also revealed that since the arrival of Chinese companies in Botswana, the government has been spending fewer funds on high quality projects because of their competitiveness.
He also commended Unik Construction Company for a job well done, saying the projects will help restore the image of Chinese companies, especially that there are misconceptions that Chinese contractors always perform shoddy jobs.
Mr Gou said hopefully other Chinese companies will emulate Unik Construction.
In his welcome remarks, Kgosi Rebagamang Rancholo of Nata assured the minister that as community leaders, they will play an active role in ensuring that there is no vandalism of property at the school.
He commended the government for choosing Nata among many other villages to be a host to one of the few senior secondary schools in the country.
With a population of about 2000, the school will add significantly to the population of Nata village, which currently stands around 5 000 people.
(Daily News, BOPA, 11 April 2011)