As Malawi is intensifying efforts to have an educated citizenry, it has been established by Malawi24 that for people in the districts along the lakes of Malawi, the challenge of attaining an education is huge.
Investigations Malawi24 carried out recently have revealed that children who are living in lakeshore districts of Malawi have less interest in education. This is due to the exposure from cash that is available in the fishing business.
In the genesis of the whole investigation, our team went to Usiska, NkhataBay, to appreciate how money from fishing business make young children ‘go bananas’.
In the first interview with a 12-year-old, Emmanuel Msiska, he conceded that his interest in education faded away. This was after he discovered that there is more cash in fishing business.
“I thought it is a waste of time to be going to school, when friends of my age are making ends meet through fishing,” he said.
Emmanuel said he dropped out in Standard 4 and all he thinks about everyday is how to keep amassing cash and later find someone to marry.
“I make a lot of money per day. Like K30,000 a day, if the lake is good. The only thing remaining for me now is to find someone to get married to,” he added.
Malawi24 further established that owing to the money, most young children have turned out to be drunkards and patronize prostitutes.
We established that with a lot of money and having little ton spend it on as most are young to have serious responsibilities, they use the money on beer and prostitutes.
“That’s true. You know after spending time in the waters the whole night, we have to booze and rest our minds,” revealed Emmanuel.
The experience is widespread in other areas like Sanga and other areas that are near to the lake.
In Karonga, Ngala area, similar stories are told in the same version. Our team observed how young people are led wayward with money from fishing business.
Education authorities in Nkhatabay confirmed that the dropout rates are increasing at a very alarming rate.
Primary education advisor for Khwafu zone, in Usiska, Gabriel Soko, said most children are dropping out before writing their Primary School Leaving Certificate Examinations (PSLCE).
“This is a call for concern and we really wish something was done to convince the children that education is more rewarding, in the long run, than the treasures from the lake,” he said.
The sentiments were shared by PEA for Ngara zone in Karonga who urged parents of the children to take a leading role in encouraging their children to prioritize education.
According to a quick internet search, while enrolment numbers rose from 78% to 83% between 2005 and 2009 dropout rates, though improved, remain high. The proportion staying to standard eight is 53% for boys and 45% for girls.