While some schools across the country are overwhelmed with learners ready to sit for the 2015 Primary School Leaving Certificate Exams (PSLC), only 22 learners of which nine are girls will sit for the national exams at Mchoka Primary school in the area of Group Village Head Ndindi, Traditional Authority Ndindi in Salima.
Mchoka Full Primary School started in the 1970’s and the total enrollment for 2014/15 school year is 1231 learners with the highest enrollment recorded in the junior classes from standard 1 to 5.
In an interview with Malawi News Agency (Mana) on Wednesday, Group Village Ndindi and Group Village Magumbwa who are serviced by the school said that the high number of drop outs is a clear manifestation that children and their parents in the area are not interested with education.
“Indeed if we compare the number of learners in standard one and those that are preparing for the standard eight exams, everybody will know that there is something wrong in this area,” said group Village Head Ndindi.
“Yes we should admit that the parents are showing no interest to have their children in school that is why the children are just dropping out as they wish,” said the chief.
In his words Group Village Magumbwa said that the drop outs are there because the children are stubborn and not ready to obey their parents.
“The children here are very stubborn they do not obey their parents on the issues of school, they love to go to video show rooms rather than in school, while the girls drop out to get married or they fall pregnant on the way,” said Chief Magumbwa.
Meanwhile the Salima District Council is implementing a project called supported United Nation Improving Access and Quality of Education for Girls Agencies (UNFPA, WFP and UNICEF) and Mchoka primary school is one of the beneficiaries.
Asked if the project will be able to change the perspective of the community on education and girl education in particular, Group Village Headman Magumbwa said the program will create the awareness but he doubted if the perspective of his subjects will change.
“The project is good as people will come to know the evil of early marriages and other things which are being highlighted but I am not sure if that will end the fashion of being uneducated,” said the chief.
According to information sourced from Mchoka School in 2014 only 36 learners sat for PSLC of which 14 were girls and in 2013 only 38 learners sat for PSLC of which 15 were girls.
The information showed that in 2014/15 there were a total of 419 learners in standard one of which girls were 193 the number drop as the classes go up and at standard six there are 45 learners 14 being girls.
The headmaster for the school Sailos Mzuwala described the situation at his school as pathetic.
“As you can see from the data every year we enroll so many learners in the lower classes but they gradually disappear as they go up the ladder,” said Mzuwala.
As teachers we try as much as possible to retain the girls and boys in school but we do not have support from their parents.
“if we had the support from the parents, I hope the situation could not have been as sad as it is now,” said Mzuwala.
Mzuwala also said that the promotion of girl’s education program is likely to bring some change although it will face many challenges as it struggled to make a behavior change.
Unconfirmed reports says that the area around Mchoka primary school has very few people who have managed to get to secondary school let alone finish form four and can be head counted.Follow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :