Former students of Umbwi Secondary School in Dedza have bemoaned encroachment into the school’s land by surrounding communities, saying it is creating an environment which is not conducive for learning.
The alumni said this on Saturday during a tree-planting exercise which they organised to help restore the school’s dwindling woodlots.
Umbwi alumni chairperson Isaac Malunga said the learning environment is negatively affected because community members have been cutting down trees and settling on school land.
“Basically, we want to restore the beauty that Umbwi had during our time. Recreation and school boundaries are important because learners need to relax in the woods or study there.
“But now, people are cutting down school trees and settling on the school land, denying leaners this opportunity,” he said.
Umbwi Wildlife Club patron Gillion Chiomba said the school’s land is encroached by surrounding community members.
He said: “This issue is very serious because slowly the school is losing its land to illegal occupants who are distracting the studies of the learners.
“Therefore, our plans to construct more structures at the school due to increased intake will be affected because we are losing school land.”
Umbwi Secondary School was opened in 1967 as a boys-only school, but now a co-education institution.
It is surrounded by Kapalamula and Mthandizi villages.