The findings of a road accident investigation in which seven (7) Matsha College students perished after their truck overturned in 2015 reveals that there are a number of shortcomings that were not addressed.
The students were rural dwellers and were returning to their various home settlements after writing their final Form 5 examinations at Matsha College in Kang where they were boarding. Answering a question in Parliament Assistant Minister of Basic Education, Nnaniki Makwinja said the major findings were that the school had no records of the names or numbers of students eligible to receive Government-provided transport.
The Ministry of Local Government and Rural Development through the Kweneng District Council’s Department of Social and Community Development (S&CD) is responsible for transporting needy learners to and from school at the beginning and end of each school term.
The school had no policy requiring a representative to monitor boarding of S&CD vehicles by students. The school did not assign anyone to oversee the departure of Form V boarders on that fateful day. The school has no such policy requiring a representative to monitor the departure of Form V students, boarders in particular.
The school had no such policy governing the collection and transportation of students from school to their homes. The Ministry of Education and Skills Development has advocated for the use of buses as opposed to open trucks for transporting students. But at the time there was no formal written policy or other document instructing on this.
Makwinja was answering a question asked by Member of Parliament for Sefhare- Ramokgonami, Dr. Kesitegile Gobotswang who had asked the Minister of Basic Education to update the House on the results of the investigations into the fatal truck accident involving Matsha College students and state what action was taken following the recommendations of the investigations.
The fatal truck accident involving Matsha College students occurred on the 13th November 2015. Makwinja said that an investigation was conducted by the then Ministry of Education and Skills Development officers to ascertain, but not limited to; how many students in the Social and Community Development (S&CD) programme as per the school records were registered to travel by means of Government-provided transport on the 13th November 2015.
What is the standard procedure/practice for collection of S&CD programme Form V boarders from the school following the completion of their examinations, what is the role of the school representative and that of the S&CD programme representative in ensuring safe boarding of the vehicle by the students, who within the school management would be/ was assigned to oversee the departure of the Form V boarders following the completion of their examinations on that day.
The investigation set out to find if any protocols, policies, practices etc exist, that govern the collection and transportation of students from schools to their homes and if they were adhered to on that fatal day. Makwinja said in addition, the police conducted an investigation into the cause of the accident which pointed to the fact that the vehicle was heavily overloaded. Subsequent to this tragic accident, she said that her ministry has stipulated that children travelling on trips must travel by sustainable buses or mini-buses. The Department of Social and Community Development (S&CD) continues to use trucks to transport children who reside in remote and less accessible locations.