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“We know that the issue of students sitting on the floor and in the open is a problem that worries everyone,” Minister of Transport and Communications Carlos Mesquita said in June this year. “Buses that are no longer used for transportation could be one solution. Of course it will be necessary to make some adaptations, but other parts of the bus can also be used.”
Following the minister’s statement, five retired buses belonging to the Municipal Public Transport Company of Maputo were quietly sent to Matchedje Motors to be transformed into classrooms – and the result is surprising.
The ‘machimbombos’ [single-decker buses] chosen for conversion could no longer be used for public transport due to mechanical and structural faults.
Most of the adaptation involves patching and painting the interior and exterior, renewing the flooring and windows, hanging curtains, installing electricity, a blackboard, desks and a table for the teacher. The new classrooms can accommodate up to 48 children each.
The classrooms are expected to be ready within the next few days and will be made available on a trial basis in the next school year, seeing hundreds of children attend classes in a more welcoming environment.
Head of Matchedje Motor Cao Hong Lu said he was pleased with the work and that it was a challenge for the company, as it is the first time they had done this sort of work. “We take this job seriously,” he said.
If the project is successful, the education sector could follow up on the initiative and combine it with traditional classrooms, of which 38,000 are still lacking if Mozambique is to stop seeing students attend class in the open.
The images taken by Jerónimo Muianga show some of the stages in the conversion process.
By Angelina Mahumane
Photos: Jerónimo MuiangaSource: Jornal Domingo
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