The government of Malawi has categorically dismissed reports that primary school pupils are to pay school fees starting from the currently on-going academic year.
Media reports recently indicated that government has introduced tuition fees in all public primary schools.
But Ministry of Education interim spokesperson Manfred Ndovi said government has no intentions to introduce fees in primary schools.
“We are just getting these reports on the social media that government has introduced fees for primary school students. As ministry of education, we would like to tell the general public that those rumours are not true. Government schools are still offering free primary education,” said Ndovi.
As part of Public reforms government has initiated a number of changes in government sectors including hiking secondary school and tertiary education fees, and abolishing the Primary School Leaving Certificate of Education (PSLCE) and Junior Certificate of Education (JCE) examination.
But, former Speaker of the National Assembly Sam Mpasu condemned government abolishing the PSLCE and JCE certificates, arguing that this was an illegal move.
“The decision is illegal because it is the Parliament that approved Education Act and this Act has a number of certificates. Therefore, the abolishing was supposed to be approved by members of parliament not just through signing by the President,” observed Mpasu.
Mpasu recalled that the decision to abolish JCE examinations was once implemented during Kamuzu Banda’s reign but this was later reversed as it had some negative implications on education.
Free primary school was introduced by Malawi’s first ever democratically elected President, Bakili Muluzi after the 1994 general elections.
Muluzi initiated this as one way of ensuring that many children easily access primary education.