Many children in rural areas are dropping out of school due to prohibitive fees in the country’s secondary schools, it has been revealed.
A Malawi Red Cross Society community volunteer made the revelations when speaking on his four year work as a change agent in his community at Ramusi 2 in Zomba.
The volunteer, Moffat Chiwaya, who focusses on getting children back into school and making sure they stay there, said many Malawians in rural areas do not have money to send their children to secondary school.
“While we managed to get the primary school children back in school fairly easy, the parents and the guardians had a hard time understanding the importance of a secondary school education. Many of them had arguments about money – that they could not afford to pay school fees and uniforms,” said Chiwaya.
Being a determined volunteer, Chiwaya worked with traditional authorities to make sure members of his village understand the importance of secondary education and send their children to school. But according to Chiwaya, complaints over the fees persisted and many secondary school students were just loafing in the village.
Fortunately, the Danish Red Cross through the Malawi Red Cross Society decided to provide school fees for the most vulnerable children in Chiwaya’s community.
All 30 children in the village who were not going to school due to lack of fees benefited from the four year programme.
“Now it was suddenly possible to make the change I had been fighting for,” Chiwaya said.
He however understands that the problem is still there in his village and the high secondary school fees will continue to deter parents from sending their children to school.