By Lukhangele Mayende
This year marks three years since the announcement by the Department of Education in the Eastern Cape, to change Ulana Senior Secondary School into an Agricultural school in 2018.
The school, situated in Upper Gxulu village Keiskammahoek in the Eastern Cape Province, was built in 1973 and 1974, and was usually known for its outstanding passing rates, exceling in sports and high enrollment of learners.
However, over the past few years the school faced a down fall on its passing rate in matric and on the number of enrolled leaners with only 109 learners being their lowest number registered due to poor infrastructure and not having enough teachers to accommodate crucial subjects such as Math’s and Science.
On a sit down with Zanele Booi a Principal at the school, she told us what they wished to achieve with this refurbishment on their school. “The project to transform the school into an agricultural school is aimed at improving the state students they find themselves in hopping that this will boost numbers of our learners,” said Booi.
In respect of that, the school has only been able to do crop production even though their wish was to have two enterprises that will also deal with animal farming.
“We were hoping to do animal farming as well, but that has been dragging because we don’t have enough space to do that. We even asked committee members of village the school is situated in for procurement of space but that also has become a process and the department of Agriculture can’t give us animals because that will require shelter and space and also have to tighten our security,” said Booi.
Speaking for the Department of Education in the Eastern Cape Malibongwe Mtima, said this process takes time.
“An initiative such as this take time. It’s not something that can be expected to happen overnight, there’s an application process that needs to be followed and Department of Agriculture also needs to consulted to decide whether animal farming and crop production should take place or not,” said Mtima.
The school enrolled 218 learners that want to do agricultural studies this year and hopes to accumulate more numbers in the coming years.