Chalata in Mkushi: The Secondary School where pupils sleep on floor

Dormitory for Male Pupils at Chalata
Dormitory for Male Pupils at Chalata
Dormitory for Male Pupils at Chalata
Dormitory for Male Pupils at Chalata

By Chambo Ng’uni

WITH structures such as classrooms, dormitories and assembly hall having been painted recently, the outlook of Chalata Secondary School in Mkushi district has been beautified.

This rural boarding school sits on a vantage point below a rocky hill in Chalata, and is in a serene environment some metres from Mkushi River and the Great North Road.

However, all is not rosy at Chalata Secondary School, which is rated the second cleanest public secondary school in Central Province after Kapiri Mposhi Girls Secondary School.

The school has some nagging challenges, which if addressed, can transform the learning institution into one of the much sought-after in Mkushi.

Pupils are happy to be at this rural secondary school but they are concerned about the lack of ablutions and beds or bunk beds in their dormitories.

The pupils have confidence in their school management believing that it tries its best to ensure that they learn in a conducive environment for them to perform better in class and have good results after sitting for examinations.

“I would like to see a change at this school this term,” Matthews Lungu, a pupil, said. “As you can see [in this dormitory], we don’t have bunker beds and we sleep on the floor.”

Matthews, 17, a grade 11 pupil, shared in an interview recently that the lack of bunk beds is a serious problem for the pupils.

The school does not have bathrooms for male pupils, who now have no choice but to bath from the nearby Mkushi River.

And 16-year-old Patson Chiluba, a grade nine pupil, agreed with Matthews on the challenges at their school.

“I would like to see change, hopefully by the end of this term,” Patson said. “We need bunk beds and bathrooms. We should also have water throughout the day.”

The school management and the Parents Teachers Association (PTA) are trying their best to ensure that a better environment is created for the pupils.

Chalata Secondary School head teacher Sunday Mukosha said the lack of beds at the institution is a source of concern because pupils need to sleep in a better environment.

“My boys and girls sleep on the floor. My school has no bunk beds and there are no mattresses,” Mr Mukosha said.

For a boarding secondary school, Mr Mukosha said bunk beds are a necessity as opposed to a situation where pupils go with their own mattresses to a learning institution.

“There are no ablutions and toilets, my boys and girls bath in the Mkushi River. It is in this regard that as an institution, we are humbly requesting government’s intervention,” he said.

Lack of transport is another problem. The school’s management and PTA are now scouting for funds to buy a bus.

The school’s only vehicle, a light Canter truck which was recently repaired, is used to carry firewood and other necessities.

The school needs about K250,000 to buy a bus but only K100,000 has so far been raised.

“We have no bus despite being a secondary school. We need to take our pupils for sports and other activities using our own bus,” Mr Mukosha said.

He said management cannot ferry pupils using a light truck for school programmes.

Chalata Secondary School has 16 classrooms and runs from grade eight to 12. It has 128 female pupils and 178 male pupils.

The school also has 17 female and 15 male teachers. Ten female teachers and seven males are accommodated by the school while the rest rent houses in the surrounding community.

The institution records low pupil enrolments which Mr Mukosha attributes to lack of infrastructure and bedding requisites for pupils.

“This [lack of beds] might have been normal in the past, but for me I find it abnormal especially that I was at a well organised school,” he explained.

Mr Mukosha is confident that with better infrastructure, Chalata Secondary School can attract more pupils from Mkushi and beyond.

“If we improve our infrastructure, more pupils will be attracted to come to this school,” he said with optimism.

“With this number of pupils [306], it’s difficult to levy pupils for projects such as the one we have of buying a bus.”

Fortunately, the school has electricity and information communication technology (ICT) is one of the subjects that pupils learn.

The institution has 20 computers, out of which only 14 are currently working.

“We have power and our pupils learn ICT. The performance rate is at 75 percent and for now, these computers are not enough because the pupils are many,” Mr Mukosha said.

After scanning the male pupils’ dormitory, it became apparent that the lack of beds and other facilities which can help create a better learning environment at Chalata Secondary School is a genuine cry which should be treated with the urgency it deserves.


  1. That cost of $400,000 used to charter Edgar Lungu and his entourage to UN by private plane a few weeks ago, could have bought desks and beds for this school. but for us it is luxury life. Sata used commercial planes but what about Lungu?
    Mulimuchibe ba Zambia.

    • We can’t always wait for government to pitch in on all these projects. Where is the alumni for the school so they can help? Zambians are always bragging about how “rich” they are but have zero sense of community service. How do you think schools in the USA or Europe sustain themselves? They get little from the government and the rest from well wishers and alumni. Imwe fyonse koma ma politics!

    • Meanwhile the visionless one Lungu is “holding” their $23 million & can’t even spare the students sleeping on toxic floors a $3million so that the school has 21st century furniture~mattresses, beds, desks & lockers. Alas, the visionless PF of Lungu twice chartered private aeroplanes twice to transport Pathetic Failures (PF) violent bandit cadres for appeasement in the U.S! Both of these transportation of PF cadres costed Zambia $1million plus the $8 million which was used to fill up the “Gabon Disaster Stadium” with violent PF bandits from the entire country.
      Just even the money to which the visionless PF ministers were receiving illegally & found guilty by the Con~Court can help facilitate this embarrassing issue.
      PF, where is the unforeseeable profit from the $700 million…

    • ….kaloba?
      Meanwhile the visionless PF of Lungu scrapped off free education, yet these students are paying school fees is really rhetoric of the PF bandits!
      Busy pa feloniously enchanting dununa backwardness, look now what this useless dununa reversed has done the the students, workers, unemployed & poor families. Remember, Zambia was recently rated as the hungriest country on the universe. Shame on visionless PF!
      The Skeleton Key

  2. Only baHakainde is the Saviour of Zambia. For him no poor person or run down infranstructure will be seen in Zambia. He is more than God. Oh HH Zambian best man with heart for the poor as we have seen you offering your workers BEST accommodation and salaries. Kikikikikiki

  3. Shame on PF how come pupils are sleeping on the floor well people who are literally doing nothing are wearing Edger Lungu work suits, T shirts and Chitenge material and Caps.

  4. It appears the disease of misplaced priorities is a national one.
    This school spent money beautifying the external outlook of the school but apart from the lack of beds one can’t help but to notice that the floor the Kids are sleeping on is full of pot holes. Yet his biggest concern is a school bus for which he is raising funds.

    The less said about the gov’t the better. Their lack of seriousness with the country’s education system is the very reason they so vigorously insulted those who told us it was possible to offer free education to our people.

  5. Zambia is Hell on earth with pretenders in Charge the church is the same we have men of Gold instead of men of God.

  6. Can anyone point out any benefits from having these guys in office? Or we only want to pretend that we have a government when all we get from them is trash?

  7. Yet you have the fraudster lungu creating a whole ministry for him self to look after his expenses and another for the equally usless VP.

    • @10, that is a good question. I feel the school administration should do something here. Let the PTA ask pupils to contribute something, it could be a K30.00 per pupil for a term. The school can start by buying bunk beds for two or three hostels, then next for other hostels until every hostel has bunk beds. I have in mind St. Margrets in Eastern Province which opened without beds. Parents were asked to contribute by paying something per term. The school continued to do this until all the hostels had beds. The school now has everything including power. So what is difficult for the school management to do that. You cannot wait always for the government to provide.

  8. This school has been like this since 1989. It is not a boarding school but parents and school management decided to put it as a weekly boarding. In any case it is not the president to solve this alone but only if the school is upgraded to full boarding then even well wishers and the govt can support. Otherwise the school is in a farm block, farmers can also help and they have been helping.

    • @concerned, That’s what I also know about this school—it is supposed to be a DAY SCHOOL ONLY. In fact, if I remember correctly it only used to be a JUNIOR HIGH SCHOOL (eighth and Ninth grade only) in the eighties. Mostly to serve local peasant Parents who couldn’t afford to send their children away to boarding schools. I remember when I was at Mkushi Secondary School (for my eighth and ninth grade,) students from Chalata Secondary who passed grade nine exit exams were transferred to mostly Mkushi, Serenje, Saint Paul’s, and other secondary schools in Kabwe and the greater Central Province. It is good that Chalata now goes up to 12th grade and it is a Boarding School. But then upgrades need to be formalized and infrastructure upgraded to match. I am not sure if the District has done…

    • continue:

      … that, or these upgrades were simply the parent’s and PTA’s initiatives. Which is commendable. But they need to formalize things for the Govt to step in.

    • Are you that ignorant or plain [email protected]**d? They didn’t make it a bording school so kids could suffer, they made it a boarding school because most of these kids came from far in seek of a better education. I went to Serenje boys and a number grade ten good students came from there and they were boarders, so your point is weak. Lungu is pathetic and is misdirected, but of course you clueless cadres won’t admit to that. Sad indeed for mother Zambia.

    • @Yambayamba, district is government pretty much. They have no more, meanwhile Lungu is busy entertaining his dictactor friends like fossil Mugabe and Museveni. He takes worthless trips to other countries at tax payers expense and donor money that is meant to develop the nation. He recently came to New York for UN meeting and pretty much talked nonsense. That trip costed the nation $1 million plus to appease his cadres while development such as the Chalata school are left in deplorable states. Lungu is a crook and a cancer to Zambia. Zambia will be the next Zimbabwe, just watch.

  9. The big question is: Why even allow a school to be functional without toilets and bathrooms? Surely 52 years after independence we can have our children sleeping on the floor? The learning atmosphere is certainly not conducive. This is supposed to be treated as an emergency by every serious government.We have got to be ashamed of ourselves! Those bunker beds can cost much less than the cost of a Ministerial or Presidential trip abroad. I think we need a John Magufuli for President in this country.

    • @13, I am sure 11.1 has explained about this school. There is no need to blame the government(s) for present or past situation. You might have read that the school has been in this condition since 1989. The school was meant to be a day school, but parents agreed that it becomes a boarding school. It is good the the truth has been known. The District Education Board Secretary will visit the school and make recommendations where necessary.

  10. Area mp take keen interest
    and ensure the problem gets the immediate attention of the ministry of finance for funding in the shortest possible time

  11. Decentralize the Govt. let towns collect their own tax revenue and then improve on schools hospitals and other infrastructure in their areas.

  12. This conditions of this school are just an example of those of a lot of schools. I don’t care what others think, but if some secondary schools are designated as ‘govt. schools’, the basics for humanity’s existence should be provided. In this time and age no ablution blocks? No proper beds? The whole situation is ‘sick’. Its the same with the government run hospitals. Where is the money budgeted for education and health? Before anyone says govt. can’t provide everything – people are already overburdened by so much, and yes, government is obliged to provide the basics for survival and ensure a healthy environment exists for learning. It collects taxes all the time and we see millions of luxurious expenditure for officials as well as millions misappropriated daily. This is a scandal…

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