Minister of Education Science and Technology Bright Msaka has told primary schools to stop demanding money for development projects from learners.
Msaka issued the warning on Wednesday during community campaign on girls’ education organised by Oxfam at Nazombe Primary School ground in Phalombe district.
This was under a 3 year £1.3 million project funded by Comic Relief and Oxfam which aims at creating a safe learning environment for girls (and boys) without sexual and gender based violence.
In his speech, Msaka said primary school education is free but most school management committees in collaboration with teachers demand money from parents of the learners claiming that is needed in some developmental activities.
“Stop demanding money for certain developmental activities from learners such as for construction of school blocks or toilets, there is already money which government sends for those issues.
“Government send money such as Constituency Development Fund (CDF), District Development Fund (DDF) among others, why demanding extra money from parents?” asked the educational minister.
He added that schools should not be putting burden on learners as wished by Malawi President Peter Mutharika whose government recently announced abolishment of secondary school fees so that education should be accessible for every Malawian.
During the event, the Minister also presented different awards to Phalombe for scooping first position in the 2018 Primary School Leaving Certificate of Education (PLSCE) examinations after getting 93.1 percent pass rate.
Primary Schools such as Dzenje, Nambiro and Nazombe were given trophies for emerging first, second and third positions at district level respectively during the exams and Dzenje also got 150 desks whereas the other two each got 100 desks.
District Education Manager’s (DEM) office also got the trophy alongside Primary Education Advisor’s offices for the zones such as Mitekete, Nambiro and Nazombe who are on one, two and third positions respectively.
In an interview, Phalombe DEM Hendrix Likeke, disclosed that they have a number of strategies which they put in place so that they should perform better and he said that they will do what they can to maintain the position during next year’s examinations.
“We conduct different things which most districts do not do so we will maintain them and explore more so that we should defend the position. For instance we do curriculum implementation tracking, we also drill standard eight teachers every year and we will continue doing that,” said Likeke.
In his remarks, Oxfam Country Director John Makina said their organisation will continue ensuring that a girl child is getting education without any hindrance.
“We do have three educational programmes and all of them we are implementing them here in Phalombe and our main stakeholder is ministry of education. We are promoting a girl child education and in other ways helping the community on making sure that this girl child gets the education.
“We are supporting girls in many was such as providing them with school materials and bicycles for those that travel long distances when going to school. We are also making sure that they should be free from different types of violence,” he said.
Apart from Phalombe, the project is also being implemented in Mzimba, Dowa and Balaka in partnership with other two local non-governmental organisations: Girls Empowerment Network (GENET) and Centre for Victimised Women and Children (CAVWOC).