Best secondary school in North Malawi, St Mary’s Girls, awards its brainiacs

Outstanding students at St Mary’s Karonga Girls Secondary School—under the stewardship of Bishop Martin Mtumbuka of the Diocese of Karonga—were on Saturday awarded for their excellence in the 2020 Malawi School Certificate of Education (MSCE) examinations results which outperformed all other secondary schools in the northern region, making it the best in the northern region.

The best students pose with Vicar Genera of Karonga Diocese, Denis Chitete, and Headmistress Martha Chizumila-Nyondo (First from R) and other officials. Pic by Pius Nyondo, Nyasa Times.

St Mary’s Karonga Girls Secondary, which only began with just Form 1 in 2016, has in the 2020 MSCE results surpassed such equally good and already established schools as Chaminade Secondary School of Karonga and Marymount Catholic Secondary School of Mzuzu, among others.

Portia Msiska and Favour Mkandawire scooped seven points each in the results, followed by Pemphero Sambo [nine points] and Witness Kachitanda [ten points].

Overall, the school registered a 97.7 pass rate, according to the deputy headmaster responsible for academics, Thomas Nyirongo.


Speaking on behalf of the awardees, who got cash prizes of K100 000 each, Favour Mkandawire, admitted it was “because of the discipline existent in the school and the hard work of teachers” that had propelled them to success.

She encouraged continuing students to be assertive, set goals and work hard towards achieving the set goals.

“Anything is possible,” said Mkandawire, who wants to study medicine and surgery, “it simply needs a lot of hard work and focus.”

Chairperson of the Parents Teachers Association (PTA), sponsors of the monetary awards, Frank Banda, said as parents they were encouraged with the school management’s dedication and said they would do more to assist.

He said on top of the school fees, parents add a K5 000 that goes towards the purchase of books to support management’s efforts to ensure that there is enough stock of books for their children and awards.

“We are always willing to help school management achieve the best results, and we will strive as much as possible to make sure that this trend continues,” said Banda, who revealed that PTA had spent K2 833 000.00 on the awards.

‘Gov’t urged to help with teachers’

According to the school’s headmistress, Martha Chizumila-Nyondo, despite the enormous success, the school faces a huge shortfall of teaching staff as the government, through the Ministry of Education, has not been that helpful in posting enough teachers to the school.

She said “the success was solely the effort of the few hardworking teachers available,” and asked the government to consider supporting the school on the same.

“Without our teachers, these students couldn’t have performed as such. Some of such hardworking teachers were posted to other schools after laying a strong foundation for the girls. They deserve to be recognized for their effort as well,” said Chizumila-Nyondo, who this year also received the 2020 Headteacher of the Year Award (HOYA) for the northern education division (NED).

The school, Nyasa Times learnt, has a capacity of 600 students with just 18 teachers. On average, it means, each teacher handles a class of the existing three streams.

‘Benchmark set’

In his remarks, Karonga Diocese education desk officer, Remmie Kamanga, challenged management and the students to work extra harder as they had set themselves a benchmark.

“You have given yourself a yardstick as St Mary’s, and now your more difficult task is to maintain it. But I am sure with the help of many stakeholders, including Bishop Mtumbuka, this yardstick will not just be maintained but outdone.

“Actually, the aim here should not just be attaining a 6-point feat. We should all aim at achieving quality grades to enable everyone to go to university,” said Kamanga, adding that wouldn’t be possible without discipline.

Guest of Honour, Monsignor Dennis Chitete, Vicar General of the Diocese of Karonga, urged teachers to “not only teach, but also inspire.”

He asked awardees to “remain committed to greater education,” and to “stay focused and be disciplined.”

During the ceremony, Msiska and Favour got K80 000.00 each in cash prizes. Sambo got K50 000.00 while Kachitanda got K30 000.00.

Each of the twenty-three teachers got a cash prize of K20 000.00, and members of the technical and support staff got K10 000.00.

St Mary’s Girls Secondary School is a grant-aided national secondary school which started on September 12, 2016.

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Tuntufye Sichali Kyalalika
Tuntufye Sichali Kyalalika
2 years ago

This is one of the best schools on our land and giving the high discipline that the school aims to attain by not discrimating their learners through equal participation and putting on few clothes that each is supposed to bring to the school brings a total inclusive and conducive environment. You don’t have to bring an expand full of clothes and manuchi at this school but books in abundance to make the girls succeed. You don’t have to provide for girls a smart phone to them. Just pay school fees within limit as per school demand which is also bearable.… Read more »

Baba Tunde
Baba Tunde
2 years ago

97% pass rate? How is this possible? In statistics we learn of a bell shaped distribution otherwise known as normal distribution. This 97% pass rate doesn’t conform to the normal distribution. Could it be that the school has such stringent entry requirements such that only Albert Einsteins are admitted in the first place?

2 years ago
Reply to  Baba Tunde

There is also abnormal distribution

Boy Wonder
Boy Wonder
2 years ago
Reply to  Baba Tunde

Vuto lanu munapita ku sukulu yoloweza osati yoganiza (memory vs research)

Mzondi Moyo
Mzondi Moyo
2 years ago

Great. Proud of the school. Push even higher.

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