Concerned by increased cases of school dropout, authorities in Chikwawa have launched a primary to provide awareness to parents and children on the importance of education.
Chikwawa Education Manager, Chrissie Chimsale on Thursday said they have decided to be wearing primary school uniforms and sensitize learners in schools to motivate them to remain in school and aim high.
“It is very important for the children to understand that education is a process. It is not something that you start and complete within a short period.
“There are problems in it but one needs determination and focus. I believe our initiative gives a picture that for us to be where we are, we were once in primary school,” said Chimsale.
She said together the department of education in collaboration with social welfare, police, judiciary and Non Governmental Organizations decided to launch the campaign with an aim of sensitizing people on the importance of promoting inclusive education, child rights as well as promoting girl child education.
The DEM said it is worrisome that the district is still hanging within the range of 10 poor performing districts in Malawi adding that the district still has a five percent increase in school dropout, high repetition rate, low pass rate and low completion rate.
Chimsale attributed the pathetic situation to hidden cultural practices like initiation ceremonies which she said traumatize children consequently forcing most teenage girls to abscond from school.
“It is sad that children especially girls are told irrelevant things at initiation camps. Such things are negatively affecting the girl child education. At the same time I should urge girls to refrain from early marriages and concentrate on education,” said Chimsale.
On her part, Chikwawa District Social Welfare Officer (DSWO), Rosemary Mahata said apart from bad cultural practices, increased incidents of forced marriages, rape, defilement and child labour are also some of the factors hampering children’s rights.
Mahata said time has come for communities to start creating a conducive environment for children. “It is everyone’s responsibility to promote safe places and inclusive education,” said Mahata.
On their part, Chikwawa Police Officer-In-charge, Assistant Commissioner Davie Chingwalu and First Grade Magistrate Gladstone Chirundu issued a stern warning to all people that abuse children saying they will face the law urging those affected to report anyone found defiling and oppressing children.
Meanwhile, a Child centered organization; Mother Mary Children Center has started a three year ‘safe school and inclusive education’ project in the two education zones of Mbewe and Nchalo in Chikwawa with an aim of motivating children with disabilities to equally access quality education.
Reports from the district’s education office indicate that 7, 896 primary school learners dropped out of school in 2016 of which 3, 998 were girls.
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