Communities push Govt to resolve a school ownership dispute in Nkhata-bay

Concerned citizens at Mdoola area in Nkhata-bay have asked authorities to amicably find solutions to resolve a school ownership dispute between Chimbota Community Development Organisation and Ministry of Education.
The ministry is accused of turning the school into a district girls boarding facility instead of a community day secondary as verbally agreed which displeased the organisation and the community and so, they want their school back to be run as a private secondary school again.
Some students, Ishmael Zangazanga and Alick Vimphangwe who are beneficiaries of Chimbota organisation education bursaries and Group village Headman Mdoola said the current situation is causing learners there to walk over 9 kilometres to access secondary school education unlike in the past when students were walking less than two kilometers.
“For example, I did my secondary at Chimbota private secondary with a full bursary from Chimbota Community Development Organisation up until now as I am still at University of Malawi. I am worried about what is happening at my old school and I hope authorities will work it out to benefit children within our catchment area,” said Zangazanga.
On his part, Village Headman Mdoola said if the ministry does not want to make the school a community day secondary, then it should be handed over to the owners, Chimbota organisation and be administered as a private school in order to promote education in the area.
The group village headman added that the organisation has also been instrumental in providing bursaries to needy learners up to the university level.
He stressed that the school was constructed by Chimbota Community Development Organisation and there is no need for the government to own and run it by force.
A few days ago, Ministry of Education Spokesperson Mphatso Nkuonera told a local media organisation, Zodiak online that the ministry followed all procedures before taking over the school saying they expected the organisation to engage them if they have issues.
 But the organisation argues that it has written the ministry on the matter several times but they have never received any feedback.
The organization’s director, Kevin Troughton maintains that they want their school after all efforts to engage the ministry seemed to have failed.
“Our plan was to run the school together with the government as a community day secondary school so that parents in the area could manage to pay the affordable fees and ensure that students in the area are accessing secondary school. But with the current situation, we have no choice but to take the school back and run it again as a private secondary school,” said Troughton.
He added that they plan to extend the infrastructure at Chimbota to ensure that the school has additional modern buildings so as to enhance quality education in the area.
Apart from the secondary school and providing bursaries, Chimbota Community Development organisation has diesel maize mills, provides an opportunity to citizens to buy maize at reasonable prices, constructed nursery schools and implementing disaster activities including supporting government to fight cholera and cyclone Freddy survivors in Blantyre and Nkhata-bay.

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