Child labour behind high school dropouts in Malawi


Catholic Development Commission of Malawi (CADECOM) has blamed rise in child labour cases on high primary school dropout rates arguing that the dropouts resort to cheap labour for survival.

CADECOM Acting Diocesan Secretary for Lilongwe Diocese, Boniface Banda, brought this to light in Lilongwe Wednesday where his organisation received a grant of U$98 642 (approximately MK 73 million) for construction of school blocks and teachers’ houses at Gogo Full Primary School in Traditional Authority Chiwere, Dowa.

In an interview, Banda explained that it was disappointing that out of 247 students who enrolled for standard 1; only 47 went as far as standard 8, the rest having dropped out mostly due to lack of motivation and inspiration as per the school’s poor physical structures and learning conditions.

School dropouts on the rise in Malawi. Google image

“Attractive and enough school blocks and a motivated work force would lead to a high enrollment and will result in low dropouts due to the students’ satisfaction with the learning conditions,” explained Banda who further deduced that this would reflect a sharp drop in child labour cases.

Also present at the signing ceremony of the grant which took place at the Japanese Embassy was Minister of Education, Science and Technology, Dr Emmanuel Fabiano, who hailed Japan for the persistent support to the country’s education sector.

He explained that the education sector was facing a variety of challenges, including low quality of education resulting from poor physical structures.

“The sector has more learners than there are enough physical structures to accommodate them and it is thus difficult to achieve quality of education without a conducive environment for the learners,” explained Dr Fabiano.

He has since challenged CADECOM to ensure transparency when implementing the project and to complete the project in the shortest time frame possible.

In her remarks, Japanese ambassador to Malawi, Kae Yanagisawa, stressed the emphasis of education as an integral part of development saying; “education is more than just a basic human right; it is power.”

She has since echoed Dr Fabiano in urging CADECOM to complete implementation of the project in the shortest time period possible.

*A report by the Malawi News Agency