United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) has urged Malawi to ensure that many primary school pupils transition to secondary school.
UNICEF Representative in Malawi Johannes Wedenig made the remarks on Monday during launch of a conference on the New Secondary School Technical program in Mzuzu.
Wedenig observed that about 5 million children are enrolled in primary and secondary schools in Malawi with 83 percent of those children being enrolled in primary schools.
“Unfortunately, over 80 percent of secondary school going children are out of school. Only 16 percent of children transition from primary to secondary school and of those only 8 percent move on to tertiary education. This is a trend we must correct in the coming year.
Wedenig added that the majority of girls are also out of school hence it is important to seek equitable access to education.
“We must also seek the gender dynamics in this inequitable access to education. For instance it is not surprising that for secondary school, 19.3% of children are out of school, the majority of whom are girls,” said Wedenig.
According to Wedenig, Districts with most out of school children include Lilongwe Rural, Mangochi, Dowa, Salima, Dedza, Chikwawa, Phalombe, Ntcheu, Mchinji and Ntchisi.
Minister of Education Science and Technology Bright Msaka said the conference will review and critique Secondary School Education in Malawi.
“I am happy today to officially open this conference of the Northern Region Chapter which is one in a series of dialogue meetings convened specifically focusing on issues of secondary education in Malawi.
“We have just completed implementing programs and activities that we set out to do in the past 10 years through the National Education Sector Plan (NESP), the time is now right to undertake this review,” he said.
The conference has been funded by UNICEF and it has attracted delegates from Kenya as well as traditional leaders such as T/A Mwasambo, T/A Kaluluma and Inkosi Mpherembe.