EDUCATION is an investment, which brings out rewards that are always visible.
Its involvement and investment in Nampundwe High school is one that has seen the school grow from only 700 pupils to more than 1,400 pupils, some of them imported from the greater city of Lusaka.
The company which mines pyrex in Nampundwe, officially handed over to the Government an expanded and revamped Nampundwe High School recently.
KCM vice-president of mining at Nchanga, Keith Kapui said mining was Zambia’s economic lifeblood and that KCM understood the role of mining companies in development.
Mr Kapui said that this was the reason the mining firm had been involved in critical programmes such as “providing a sound education to our children because we all know that without proper education, a nation cannot have meaningful development.
He also placed it on record that the mining company would continue to initiate programmes that help to uplift the living standards of Zambians and contributing to national development.
“I just want to inform you that KCM spends around US$2 million (K10.6 million) on the education sector per year, which comprises the Budget to run KCM trust schools, to provide scholarships to high schools and university students, among many other areas of education,” he said.
He revealed that they have taken a leading role in recent times by providing computers to Government schools to support the e-learning technology.
This feat by the company should be commended as it improves computer literacy and helps draw Zambia closer to gaining strides in the ICT sector.
Regarding the Nampundwe project, Mr Kapui said: “It gives me lots of satisfaction that we have come to the conclusion of the undertaking, this project should help to spur development here in Nampundwe and set the tone for success for our children as many future leaders in all spheres of life will surely pass through this school,” he said.
Lusaka Province Minister, Phillip Kosamu expressed gratitude to KCM for what he described as their unwavering support to the education sector.
“I am aware that KCM operates two trust schools in Chingola and Chililabombwe, which offer sound education to children from pre-grade to A-levels; this is a remarkable achievement because very few schools offer A levels education,” he said.
The minister urged other private stakeholders to emulate the good gesture by KCM as it was meaningful to development and could only take place when the Government and all ass the private sector put their efforts together.
Prior to the construction of the ablution block, pupils were using the nearby bush to answer the call of nature which posed many risks, particularly to girls who were at risk of being attacked by prowlers.
“I am sure this project has already created an impact in that the school enjoys a clean health slate from water-borne diseases and enrolment of pupils has doubled to 1,400.” The minister said.
The project to up-grade Nampundwe High school was initiated in 2009 by KCM, the main aim was to separate the basic school from the high school and to up-grade the school to a full Co – education boarding facility.
Considering the magnitude of the project which sought to construct extra class-room blocks, laboratories, Ablution blocks it was decided that the expansion programme be done in phases.
Under phase One of Nampundwe High School expansion project which was under-taken in the 2010/11 financial year, KCM constructed a 1 x 6 classroom block which was equipped with a total of 220 double school desks.
Upon completion of the project enrolment increased from 700 to more than 1,400 following the construction of extra classrooms as did the Teacher/Pupil contact time.
In 2011/12 financial year KCM under-took phase two of the Nampundwe project of this expansion whose package included the following works; Construction of a 1 x 3 classroom block and two science laboratories, procurement of laboratory equipment and procurement of laboratory stools for the comfort of pupils while they were tackling practical science lessons.
During the 2012/13 financial year KCM undertook Phase three of the Nampundwe High School expansion project by constructing a modern water borne ablution block.
This was as a result of poor water and sanitation facilities which were posing a danger to the health of the Pupils and surrounding communities.
Nampundwe High School head teacher Bridget Nambwela expressed her gratitude to KCM for the expanded and up-graded high school.
She narrated how the school had grown from an initial single block to having two other blocks, a laboratory, and an ablution block with water borne lavatories.
“KCM has also furnished the school with 20 computers and this year we have the first batch of grade 12s writing computer science exams,” she said as the pupils erupted into a thunderous applause.
The new block will encompass four classrooms, two science laboratories something which Ms Nambwela alluded to as having contributed to a 64 per cent increase in the pass rate at the school.
“We are now looking forward to the school becoming a fully-fledged boarding school with the dormitories which we have been promised and teachers accommodation,” she said.
Provincial education officer for Lusaka Neroh Mwanapabu applauded KCM, saying that the new classroom blocks would improve access to education.
“We can now enrol more pupils and they can work in an enabling environment, but these facilities must be guarded jealously and ensure that there was no vandalism,” he said.
He said the provision of quality education to the nation, especially the youth could lead to skills acquisition and later on reduce the high unemployment levels in the nation.
It is in this vein that education was no doubt an investment and all stakeholders in this project expect the pupils to do even better than always because more educational infrastructure was at their disposal.
Mr Mwanapabu called for commitment from the pupils and teachers as doing so could trigger improved academic results at the school.
The school has indeed come a long way and this success story can be greatly attributed to KCM a firm which believes in maintaining its links with the community and improving their well being.
Perhaps in a few decades to come the next KCM managing director would emerge from Nampundwe High School but only if the pupils and teachers meet KCM half-way by ensuring that they not only work extra hard but also guard the infrastructure jealously.