ICON Properties invests K50m for construction of Mbayani Primary School classrooms

ICON Properties Plc — a subsidiary company of the country’s giant financial services institution, NICO Group — has joined efforts from the private sector of improving school structures by investing K50 million for the construction of additional classroom at Mbayani Primary School in Blantyre.

Mbayani is the most congested primary school in Blantyre which has an enrolled of over 10,000 — thus ICON Properties coming in to support in order to reduce congestion in schools and make sure all pupils are accommodated in classrooms.

The school was first earmarked as needing support of additional school blocks by NICO Group, which pledged K140 million and at the time, the cost for putting up a double-storey block holding four classrooms was K100 million.

But due to devaluation, the costs increased to K190 million and there was need to source more funds to build the school block with NICO Group adding another K40 million to the pledge while ICON Properties has come in to fill the gap with the K50 million.

CEO Ellen Chapinduka-Nyasulu

Chief Executive Officer for ICON Properties and Eris Properties, Ellen Chapinduka-Nyasulu, said they believe that the Investment is within its values of being a responsible and responsive corporate citizen, especially in areas that require accommodation solutions — be it commercial or social.

“The funds will be deployed towards closing the gap that our mother company, NICO Group, identified in building additional school blocks for Mbayani Primary School — and we have joined efforts to ensure the project kicks off as planned.”

She also added that Mbayani is the most congested school in Malawi, “a development which has forced the school management to operate in shifts with the aim of accommodating all pupils”.

Congestion at Mbayani Primary School is of serious concern

“So we felt it necessary to give our children a better learning environment because it is not proper for them to be learning in a congested rooms in this period where we are also observing some CoVID-19 measures.”

The groundbreaking ceremony for the construction will jointly be held by NICO Group and ICON Properties early next year.

ICON Properties Plc is a listed property investment company incorporated as part of a restructuring exercise by shareholders of various property holding companies.

In 2018, former Minister of Education Science & Technology, Bright Msaka pledged to construct three more primary schools for the populous Mbayani township in Blantyre to decongest Mbayani One Primary School.

He made the pledge after touring Mbayani School and Msaka was appalled that at an enrollment of 10,00 learners against 74 teachers — representing a teacher-pupil ratio of 1:126 — was against the recommended ratio of 1:60.

Msaka had said the Ministry planned to construct three additional primary schools that will be within the same locality but we are yet to establish if such additional schools were built — as well as those three others he pledged to construct at Likhubula and at Chapima Heights in the same area.

The minister had also pledged that the Ministry would also recruit additional 6,000 teachers to help achieve optimal teacher to pupil ratio.

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