Katete schools in a shortage of school Desks


Schools in Katete district in Eastern province have started making and repairing desks in a bid to reduce the shortage of furniture in classrooms.

Speaking in an interview, Katete District Acting Education Board Secretary Patrine Chilala said while her office waits for the supply of desks purchased under the the Constituency Development Fund, the schools have decided to be innovative and are now assembling desks from old pieces.

“Katete district has a total number of 141 learning institutions and a learner population of 56,149. In these learning institutions, we have a challenge of desks but some schools have enough and some have a big challenge,” Ms. Chilala said.

She however said the schools are using local solutions to address the shortage of desks.

“We are not just sitting and waiting for the government, our own schools like Kafumbwe Boarding Secondary School, using the designing technology, are able to make desks and repair. Some have engaged local artisans to help them in repairing the desks,” she explained.

She also cited Katete Day Secondary school where the administration has managed to repair 40 desks using their own initiative and using the grant it received from government.

Ms. Chilala disclosed that other supporting partners like the Global Partnership for Education through Plan International donated 750 desks to Katete. The donated desks have since been distributed to primary schools.

She further disclosed that the district has applied for 10,848 desks under the Constituency Development Fund as a major solution to the challenge.

Meanwhile, Omelo Mumba school Headteacher, Abraham Tembo, told ZANIS that the learning institution has a critical shortage of desks, having only 255 desks against a population of 2,525 pupils.

“Last year the total enrollment was 2,144. With the introduction of free education, we are receiving pupils on a daily basis hence the number has swelled,” he said.

He added that the recommended number of pupils per is 80 hence the need for 40 desks in each classroom.

“So you multiply by 16 classrooms which will give you 640 desks. Against the 255 desks that we have, it means we have a shortfall of 385 desks for us to operate normally,” he said.

He said the situation has been worsened by vandalism from the learners who are constantly fighting for desks.

“Usually pupils are always fighting for desks hence nearly every day desks break. As a school, we are trying to rehabilitate desks and we have managed to rehabilitate 22 desks using part of the grant,” he said.

And Katete District Deputy Council Secretary, Israel Chikalipa, said necessary steps have been taken towards securing desks for the learning institutions.

“We are in the process of equipping our learning institutions with desks and so far, we have applied for the approval of procuring the desks. As soon as the approval is given, we will ensure that we buy the desks,” he said.


  1. That same wood for charcoal can make a few desks. We have been carving wood for centuries, making artifacts and chairs, how can we fail to make a desk? Each village should make desks for their children, at least one desk. We used to make floor polish for the classroom back in the day. Sometimes we used leaves of a certain plant that worked like polish. That is what innovation is, not just coding and designing 3D whatever or going to the moon or Mars.

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