The global phenomenon of migration from countryside to the city is in principle good news, as the concentration of people makes it easier for public policies to provide efficient access to services.
Money is spent more resourcefully for water, sewage, electricity, transport, health services, and access to education if people are concentrated within specific spaces. But what is to be done with people who are still scattered throughout the countryside, with only limited access to infrastructure?
Luyanda Mpahlwa tries to tame the elephant in the room: education, for him, propels society towards equality. Here he presents his network of small schools placed where the students are, instead of forcing them to travel many miles a day. Dispersion and remoteness imply logistical challenges: buildings have to combine materials and techniques that guarantee a national standard of quality with local and readily available materials and workforce. Furthermore, to be able to attract good teachers to these remote places, the schools must be part house, part classroom, integrating functions and proving that the modernist ideal of segregated functions is not an absolute truth. The fact that it is a network, a serial operation, contains within its DNA the question of reproducibility, always a challenge for public policies: how to achieve scale and be sensitive to the local conditions at the same time.