Machinga Development Association (MADAS) has written to Malawi Government strongly demanding that its Ministry of Education Science and Technology should not relocate the 120 students who were selected to start their Form One at Machinga Boarding Secondary School for the 2018/19 academic year, whose construction is not complete, to various community secondary schools (CDSSs) across the district.
Instead MADAS says the student should be relocated to similar or better grade schools within the South Eastern Education Division or that Machinga Teachers Training College be temporarily closed down in order to use the facilities to house Machinga Secondary School until after the construction project of the District Secondary School is completed as per their request made on 27 February 2018
“The decision taken by your Ministry to relocate students is unfair, unjust and a violation of these young students’ rights to quality education,” says the letter signed by chairperson Dr. Bridon M’baya and general secretary Rabson Assam.
“We make this request to ensure that our district also enjoys a fair and just share of national development by having properly educated young men and women. You may wish to know that despite having a population of more than 500,000, Machinga District does not have a government boarding secondary school and this puts our leaners at a disadvantage when competing with those from other districts with better resourced education facilities.
“We request your Ministry to address this issue within the next two weeks failing which we will mobilize the people of Machinga to demand quality education by way of legal
action or mass protests,” the letter says.
MADAS further says those students selected to pursue their studies at a Boarding District Secondary School were graded on the tier of district secondary schools and had all the hope that the education they would receive at a district boarding secondary school could accord them with the opportunity to compete for the limited spaces in public universities of Malawi.
“Downgrading them to CDSSes, where the quality of education is low, is being unfair and unjust to them and the people of the district. The quality of education in CDSSes is low as these schools are characterized by lack of teaching and learning materials; inadequate numbers of qualified teachers and improper lodging facilities for students selected from villages far away from the schools.”
MADAS contends that the construction of Machinga District Boarding Secondary School commenced in 2013 and almost every year, resources have been allocated to this project and yet five years down the line, the project has not yet been completed.
“MADAS finds this as lack of commitment to address the overdue injustice which the people of Machinga have been subjected to,” concludes the letter to the Ministry copied to Education Division Manager, Eastern Region, District Education Manager, Machinga, District Council Education Committee, Machinga, Civil Society Coalition for Education, Malawi Human Rights Commission and media houses.
Quality education advocate Dr Steve Sharra described government’s handling of the education sector as “problematic”.
“The bigger picture is that cases of this nature only demonstrate the inefficiency and lack of seriousness within the establishment. This does not only demoralise the students but ultimately disturbs them,” said Sharra in quotes reported by The Nation.
Sharra noted that already, Malawi has a big mismatch between primary and secondary school enrolment.
Follow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :