Ministry of Education, Science and Technology through the Blantyre District Education Managers office (DEM) on Friday deployed two qualified teachers to Chiguma Primary School, which for the past two years, has been managed by a single volunteer teacher.
The ministry also handed over teaching and learning materials thereby relieving parents of the area from the burden of using their own resources to support the operations of the institution since the school was at the mercy of the community and the volunteer teacher who had to sacrifice personal resources to run the school.
Speaking during the ceremony, Blantyre DEM responsible for primary education, Paul Chiphanda said the deployment of teachers and handover of teaching and learning materials signified government’s commitment to fulfilling its responsibility in view of the fact that the school became a public institution.
Chiphanda pointed out that once a school had been handed over to government, it was supposed to be provided with all the necessary facilities to ensure that it runs smoothly and that children attain quality and competitive education.
“Two months ago, Majete Wildlife Reserve and the communities from the area handed over the school to government and what it meant, therefore, was that government has to take over the operations of this institution.
“Today, we came first, to declare Chiguma as a public primary school and that from now on, it will be treated just as any other government school and be entitled to all sorts of benefits like the Primary School Improvement Programme,” said Chiphanda.
He added: “That is not all, we also have come with us two teachers who will work together with Mark Kamphira, the volunteer, so that children from this school have the same opportunity like all others in Malawi. This means, therefore, one of the newly deployed teachers will become the head teacher taking over from Mr. Kamphira because it is now a government school.”
Chiphanda, therefore, disclosed that the DEM’s office would also consider sending more teachers and learning as well as teaching materials as the institution had been earmarked for upgrading to a full primary school.
“There are a number of good things that will happen at this school — this is just the beginning of the many things to come. Very soon I will be engaging various partners to support the school in all its shortfalls such as having additional classroom blocks, toilets, desks and also a borehole for clean and safe water,” he assured.
Chiphanda also pledged that he would engage Marys Meals to consider introducing a school feeding programme at Chiguma in light of the fact that most the learners were very young.
He, therefore, urged communities surrounding the school to continue supporting the institution as it graduates into a full primary school, saying: “Just as you have been doing in the past, continue to be proactive and support your children so that their dreams are achieved,” Chiphanda advised.
Apart from books, chalk, pens and pencils, the DEM’s office also donated netballs and footballs for learners recreation. In a special way, the DEM hailed Kamphira, the former volunteer headmaster for his dedication in creating a positive image of the school.
Chiphanda emphasized that if it were not for the volunteer teachers dedication, no one would have known about the existence of Chiguma Primary School and that the community, particularly, children from the area would have remained illiterate.
Councilor for Chikowa Ward in which the school is located, Damiano Valaliyano commended government for rescuing the institution from the many challenges it was facing.
Valaliyano said the deployment of teachers and provision of teaching and learning materials was an important contribution to the school and that it symbolized that government was concerned with the status in which the school was operating.
“Honestly, there has not been any exciting moment than today, our prayer has been answered. Our children will attain better and quality education since we now have qualified teachers,” he said, urging government to consider sending more teachers to the school since the teacher to learner ratio remained far from the recommended.
In his remarks, Group Village Headman (GVH) Dzikupe said he was excited to see more new and qualified teachers coming to the school, something he said was a dream to his subjects.
“We never imagined that on a day like today we would receive new teachers as well as teaching and learning materials for our children. This is good news and we would like to assure you that we will do all we can to support the teachers,” GVH Dzikupe assured.
He disclosed that he would soon mobilize his subjects to start moulding bricks for the construction of teachers houses and classrooms to accommodate the growing number of learners.
On his part, Kamphira said the coming in of new more teachers was a relief for him and that learners would now have ample time to cover all the subjects in good time than was the case before where he had to manage all the classes single — handedly.
“This is what I had always wanted not only for me but for the learners as well from this school — they really required more teachers and I am eager to work even extra hard,” he pledged.
Chiguma Primary School currently has an enrolment of 345 learners and was being managed by the volunteer teacher Kamphira, 35, who also won the MBC 2017 innovator of innovators award.
The story of Kamphira and Chiguma school was first carried by Malawi News Agency (MANA) when the school was being handed over to government by Majete Wildlife Reserve in November last year.
The introduction of new teachers brings the number of teachers at the school to three, thus two qualified ones as well as the former volunteer head teacher, Kamphira