Invest, priotise in Girl Child Education – UNDP tells Malawi

United Nations Development program (UNDP), Deputy Resident Representative, Clara Flore, has said Government needs to seriously invest and priotise in girl child education to promote quality education among girls.

Flore made the remarks on Friday, at the Bingu International Conference Centre (BICC) in Lilongwe during the MDGs Acceleration Frame (MAF) Work Advocacy Meeting with the private sector, development partners, government and non-governmental organisations on promoting girls’ retention in schools with Dedza and Nsanje as case study districts.

She said it was unlikely that Malawi will achieve the targets of the Millennium Development Goal (MDG 2) on the proportion of girls in secondary schools and therefore government needs to make tough decisions to make sure that the girl child education is up to standards.

Flore - girl child education is vital to attaining MDGs
Flore – girl child education is vital to attaining MDGs

“We believe that investing in girl child education is very important not just for achieving the MGD 2 but also in terms of addressing all the multiple issues related to the girl child,” she said.

Flore said it was appalling to see the situation on the ground especially in the Districts of Nsanje and Dedza where most girls fail to reach up to standard 8 because of long distances to school and lack of resources.

She however, commended government for involving chiefs and building girls hostels among others, in a bid to keep girls in schools.

In her remarks, Minister of Gender and Children Welfare, Clara Makungwa said Government is aware of the problems surrounding the girl child education and that they were doing everything they could to make sure that the challenges were reduced.

Makungwa highlighted that government was working with traditional leaders to help keep girls in schools by summoning parents who force their children into early marriages; and construction of girls’ hostels throughout the country.

“We are very aware of the alarming cases of girl dropouts and as government we are doing everything possible to ease these problems and I can confidently say we have done a lot lately and we promise to do more,” said Makungwa.

Dedza and Nsanje are the two districts with the worst girl child drop out, with Nsanje recording 6.2 percent rate against 5.0 percent of boys’ drop-out rate while Dedza has 5.1 percent against 3.8 of boys’ drop out.

According to the 2013 Education management Information System (EMIS) Report, the 2011/12 Academic Calendar registered more girls than boys in primary schools (2,088,792 boys to 2,099885 girls nationally), Dedza and Nsanje contributed just 4.5 percent and 1.8 percent (94,700 and 37,286) respectively of the total country’s enrollment of girls primary schools alone at National level.

Some of the major factors contributing to high rate in school drop outs are lack of resources, long distances to schools, lack of role models and cultural practices.

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