Minister of Gender, Children, Disability and Social Welfare, Mary Navicha says there is need to improve the transition rate for learners from primary to secondary school level.
According to Navicha, as of 2017, the transition rate was very low as only 16 percent of children transitioned from primary to secondary and only 8 percent got to tertiary level (Malawi Growth Development Strategy -MGDS III).
Navicha was speaking in Lilongwe on Monday during the official handover ceremony of K1.26Million contribution from the Chinese Community in Malawi.
The contribution will go towards addressing challenges faced by the girl child affected by the 2019 cyclone Idai mainly to promote education continuity.
She said the transition rate is particularly far much lower for the girl child because girls lack sanitary materials and psychosocial support to encourage continuity of education.
“In particular, girls have erratic school attendance and majority drop out of school.
“As for the girl child, loss to property such as school uniform, writing materials and text books, exposes the girl child to various vulnerabilities including gender based violence, sexual abuse and harassment,” she said.
She added that inequalities and early child marriages and unplanned pregnancies as well as exposure to high risky diseases such as HIV and Aids are hindrances to a girl child’s education.
Navicha said her office was overwhelmed by the number of requests for support towards education from girls whose parents or guardians are unable to provide the required support.
She therefore commended the Chinese community for having the passion to see that the girl child is not hindered by circumstances resulting from disasters and other negative forces of life.
His Excellency Wang Xiusheng Charge D’affairs of the People’s Republic of China said they have been working actively in promoting the social and public welfare of Malawian people.
“We have been working with the Ministry of Gender in areas of children, education, women empowerment and social assistance,” he said.
He added that the K1.26 Million was raised during the Chinese Day commemoration after auctioning and selling the products which were being showcased on the day.
Wang said the Chinese Government is committed to improving the girls’ education in the country especially those affected by the floods.
“Cyclone Idai affected children in so many ways and the sanitation of schools was compromised therefore we want this money to be channeled towards this cause,” he said.
The 2019 floods which resulted from cyclone Idai destroyed 154 public primary schools and 445 Early Childhood Development Centers.
By Fostina Mkandawire – Mana