Kalondolondo project manager Jephter Mwanza has urged government for the recognition of self-boarding initiative in community day secondary schools (CDSSs) as one way of offering quality education to communities especially girls.
Mwanza made the remarks in Phalombe district in reaction to an assessment of girls self-boarding schools in Phalombe district conducted by Active Youth Initiative for Social Enhancement (AYISE) which revealed that the district has not produced any girl child who has scored 20 points above for three years under self-boarding school.
“Looking into the report, we can conclude that Phalombe is one of the worst districts as far as self boarding school is concerned. As you have seen in the report, this is one of the districts for three years no girl child has scored 20 points which means nobody has gone to the university under self-boarding which is a setback to promote girl child education,” said Mwanza.
According to AYISE assessment on the quality of girls self-boarding initiative and its overall impact on education services in the district revealed that girls face challenges such as long distances between schools and boarding facilities.
For instance, most of girls walk long distances about 15-25 kilometers away from school facilities e.g. Naminga, Mulomba & Mpambachulu to Holy Family.
Other challenges include Inadequate bathrooms and toilets that are of poor quality which are shared with boys.Poor sanitation and lack of water sources in some school facilities e.g. Mpasa CDSS where there toilets had no water at the time of the visit.
“Most houses do not have electricity such as Ngozi, Chisungulu which limits their study time .They cannot study in the evening since they have no electricity,” reads the report.
The report also revealed that there is no proper security- absence of safeguarding mechanism by the community resulting in Some girls being abused by men due to lack of security.
Congestion is another challenge as most of the girls are overcrowded, for instance, at Mpasa and Chiringa about 30 girls share a single room like a classroom
“In other rented houses about 5-10 girls share a bedroom-sized room with their belongings and these lead to the spread of airborne diseases and peer pressure leading to ant-social behaviours,” says the report.
In his recommendation, Mwanza said self-boarders face challenges because government disowned the imitative through a circular to head teachers.
Government’s policy stipulates that CDSSs are day secondary schools, demanded and managed by communities.
“Government is socially excluding the poor from education .in fact; it is another form of discrimination. As Kalondolondo, we will fight to make sure that government withdraws this circular because it violets’ rights of the poor instead of protecting them,” said Mwanza.
Kalondolondo Project, a channel aimed at monitoring some of government’s programmes and projects taking place across the country wants the ministry of education, science and technology to withdraw a circular which gave orders to all government day schools not to allow self-boarding for girls.
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