Parents’ illiteracy fuelling girls school dropout in Nkhotakota

Malawi school

High illiteracy rates among parents in Nkhotakota district is the main reason why most girls drop out school, it has been established.

Malawi24 caught up with a chief and an educationist in the district who have both agreed that parents’ attitudes towards girls’ education is a key factor why most girls fail to reach far with their education.

Malawi school
Pupils dropping out.(Image credit- World Bank).

In an interview with this publication, village headwoman Ntwana said many parents in her area do not know why educating a girl child is vital hence they allow their girls to enter into early marriages.

According to Chief Ntwana, parents in rural areas of Nkhotakota still have the ancient perception of viewing girls as people who do not deserve to be educated but ones who should get married once they become adolescents.

“Most parents feel proud when their girls become pregnant claiming they will give them grandchildren. They assume that those grandchildren are a treasure. They feel great being called grandparents devaluing the importance that would have been gained if their girls would have been educated,” Ntwana told Malawi24.

According to Ntwana, most parents do not know that educating a girl child is vital and they do not feel like it is of any importance to them, community and Malawi at large.

“Girls must be educated to be self-reliant, but this is not the case with a lot of parents who think educating a girl is a waste of time,” She said.

The chief Ntwana disclosed that she will soon invite all parents to brief them on the importance of educating girls.

Commenting on the development, education expert Father Andrew Banda said the problem is worrisome in Nkhotakota because it is retarding girls’ education.

Father Banda who also owns a private primary school called Chankhasi in the district gave an example of his school where 7 out of 10 circumcised girls drop out each academic year.

According to Banda, parents’ illiteracy is indeed making the act uncontrollable because they don’t know the importance of education.

“Parents have a perception that education is meaningless by taking their old times into modern time. They are failing to understand that time is changing almost daily and that a girl has a role to play in the development of every community,” he said.