Just a year ago all was well and students’ enrollment was at the increase in the secondary schools of Chiradzulu District, but now the situation is a different one.
It is a known fact that education is a hub of development in each and every country and of course a human right for all as stipulated in Chapter IV of the Malawi constitution.
Over 500 students in Chiradzulu District are at the risk of dropping out of school due to lack of school fees, following the winding up of National Aids Commission (NAC) project that was assisting the needy in the district.
Both the District Social Welfare and District Education Offices have confirmed on the development, describing it as ‘retrogressive towards education empowerment, to the needy students in the district.
One of the senior Social Welfare Officer at Chiradzulu, Isaac Lakudzala told Malawi News Agency (Mana) Monday that the situation was very regrettable as most of the vulnerable and marginalized students will immediately drop out of school.
“About 503 students may miss their right of accessing education as NAC phase out its project of helping the needy students with school fees,” he said.
Lakudzala pointed that this development has happened at a very crucial time when the office was overwhelmed already with applications of more needy students looking for academic financial support.
“This office receives not less than 25 requests monthly of students looking for school fees. NAC was cushioning this pressure, because annually they were paying fees for 180 students from the names this office submitted to them,” he explained.
The Social Welfare Officer said that the most disturbing was the sustainability of the students’ education knowing that the beneficiaries who were in various forms of their secondary school levels cannot get rescuers overnight.
Lakudzala appealed to government to consider employing more Care givers if Early Childhood Education was to yield tangible results in the country, saying children of poor families and orphans cannot afford sending their children to private nursery schools.
“Let me appeal to government to employ or simply register the already available Care givers on the pay roll to encourage them work with serious interest and allow monitoring on their duties become obligatory,” he suggested.
He added that the current condition where they work as volunteers hinder social welfare officers from putting strict supervision on them hence compromising quality delivery of services and results.
Deputy Head teacher at Chiradzulu Day Secondary School Humphrey Mathewe told Mana that already the school is already hit by dropouts due to fees related problems.
“I can confirm that 5 students have drop out of school immediately they were communicated on the cut of aiding them with school fees. Sadly, one of them was a form four female student,” he narrated.
Mathewe appealed for well wishers to bail out the students from their current situation so that they may report back to school, and see light at the end of the tunnel.
He recalls that NAC announced to stop helping the students with fees early October 2016 and most schools are affected.
“Female students may end up getting into early marriages which works against government plans to promote girl child education,” he observed.
Chiradzulu District Manager, Harris Kachale said this would put the most vulnerable and most marginalized students in a very awkward situation.
“Of course projects have time frames but, child headed families, the orphans and those coming from very poor families are at a great disadvantage. They will face immediate hitches of the phasing out of such helpful projects,” he added.Follow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :