Weather prompts debate on school uniform


The Civil Society Coalition for Education CSEC) has joined the condemnation of the unwritten “silent” policy that pupils in public primary schools are mandated to wear shorts as part of their school uniform.

The cold weather conditions the country is currently experiencing has sparked debate on social media by parents and other citizens saying that pupils are apparently affected.

The concerned parents and guardians want the current scenario where boys wear shorts to school to be reversed.

In an interview with Malawi News Agency (MANA) on Thursday, Civil Society Education Coalition (CSEC) Executive Director, Benedicto Kondowe, said the Ministry of Education does not have a policy that makes school uniforms mandatory as that responsibility is given to the school management committees, Parents/Teachers Associations and other structures.

“Government must come out clearly on the matter because this unwritten policy should be reviewed having been there from the time of late Dr Hastings Kamuzu Banda. It is one of the policies that emerged out of practice but the school culture ought to respond to the change in context,” said Kondowe.

In a separate interview, Head Teacher for Mponela 1 Primary School in Dowa, Thandi Banda, said although it has not been mandatory for every learner to wear uniform since 1994, it is mandatory that they be in short trousers and not in long trousers

Public Relations Officer for the Ministry of Education, Chikondi Chimala, confirmed that putting on uniform in all public primary schools is not compulsory.

“It is the schools and their governing bodies that make their policies. Regardless that we do not have a strict policy on uniforms, as a ministry, we want to provide general guidelines about uniforms and how schools can handle their learners in line with the weather during this period and going ahead,” Chimala said.

Reported by Monica Tambala

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