Zimbabwe News

ECD learner dies in goalpost accident

A 6-year-old Early Childhood Development (ECD) B learner at Baring Primary School died on Tuesday morning after he was accidentally hit by a steel handball pole on the head.

The incident has been blamed on negligence as the handball pole that hit the now-deceased Anesu Jacob Chikodzore was supposed to have been removed and placed in a safe place immediately after use.

The Zimbabwe Republic Police’s (ZRP) Acting Spokesperson in Manicaland Province, Assistant Inspector Wiseman Chinyoka, confirmed the tragedy to The Manica Post. He said:

The child died after being hit by a handball pole at Baring Primary School sports grounds in Mutare. The child was in ECD B.

When we attended the scene, we gathered that the children were playing on the school grounds at 10.30 am when the incident happened.

The other children then rushed to inform their class teacher who was identified as Ephitinia Manengwa, and by the time the teacher arrived at the sports fields, the child was bleeding from both the mouth and nose while still trapped under the pole. The boy died as he was being attended to at Victoria Chitepo Provincial Hospital.

The boy’s father, Chipo Chikodzore, was hurt by the circumstances leading to the death of his son and accused the school of negligence. He said:

I personally think that the death of my son Anesu was a result of negligence on the part of the school and laxity in young learners’ supervision.

Surely, how can they leave such dangerous objects unattended and in an unsafe position in a place where young children play?

Surely, how can they let learners of such an age play around without any form of supervision?

I have not been informed or received any kind of briefing from the school yet, apart from the headmaster and teachers who came to pay their condolences and left without a word.

In a telephone interview on Wednesday, Mutare District Schools Inspector, Tracy Mademutsa, castigated The Manica Post for rushing “to write bad stories, but when something good happens you do not come with the same speed.” She added:

Recently you wrote that Baring Primary School was undertaking holiday lessons, and now you are rushing to publicise this unfortunate incident. It is not even 24 hours yet after the incident… I have not yet received a report from the school.

Manicaland Provincial Education Director, Richard Gabaza, said he had not been officially briefed about the incident.

A teacher at the school, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said:

It is unfortunate that this incident has happened this way. The poles are a hazard and are supposed to be stacked away after games.

I remember we had one concerned male student teacher, who used to stack them consistently every morning or after games would have been played.

When the teacher left the school it appears no one cared enough to do that, and unfortunately, this tragic incident happened.

A parent with a child at the school, who also spoke on condition of anonymity, said:

I certainly do not find the wisdom of locating infant classes in areas where there are sports grounds with such dangerous objects.

At least these movable poles should be religiously stacked away after use or else they should be cast in concrete to ensure safety.

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