Government has been asked to increase funding to primary schools as a way of improving quality of education.
A primary school head teacher in Phalombe made the plea during a tour which was organised by Malawi Economic Justice Network (MEJN) for members of the media to appreciate how some primary schools are using School Improvement Grant (SIG).
A visit to Naminjiwa CCAP Primary School showed that the school administration together with the management committee has built a teacher’s house using the grant taking to five the number of teacher’s houses at the school which has got 40 teachers.
The school has also managed to bring electricity and build toilets but the deputy head teacher Agnes Heleke said the funds are not enough considering the problems which her school is facing.
“The amount that we are receiving is less than what we plan to spend, you can see that we have bricks here which we planned to use to construct school blocks here but since the SIG is not enough we have not done anything up to now.
“They should consider adjusting upwards these funds so that the money should meet our needs,” she pleaded.
Heleke’s concerns are the same as those of at Namatapa and Nyezelera primary schools where the press was also told that the grant is not enough despite of the good fruits it is bringing in the schools.
MEJN’s regional manager for the south, Mike Banda, said they have sampled out about 30 primary schools in this country where they are tracking on how the SIG is being used and how best it can be improved to benefit the end user.
“This is coming under an intervention we are doing here called social accountability project and we are doing public expenditure tracking just to follow through the resources from where they are originating up to the end user which are primary schools.
“We sampled out some 15 primary schools within three zones in Phalombe district and we aren’t doing this only here but in Karonga district also where we have sampled 15 primary schools,” he said.
In his remarks, senior inspector for primary schools in the district, William Namakhula, said the grant has been helping in buying learning materials and renovation of structures in all the schools.
“SIG is really helping in improving our schools here in Phalombe. Of course the funds are not enough but there is nothing we can do about that for now,” he said.
MEJN is implementing the project with support from OXFAM.