Malawi mulls free secondary school education: Govt orders head teachers to delay fees collection

Malawi government has ordered head teachers in public secondary schools to delay the collection of school fees as the schools open Monday after a two-month summer holiday.

Munthali: Questions the timing

But secretary for Education, Science and Technology, Justin Saidi,  in a circular  to all head teachers in the country, has not given reasons why there should be a delay in the collection of fees.

“As you are aware, the 2018/19 academic year starts from 10th September, 2018. I write to advise that you should delay the collection and receipt of tuition fees from students for the 2018/19 academic year.

“You will receive further instructions on the same in due course,” says the letter in part.

Saidi says the instruction only applies to payments of tuition fees and does not apply to the collection and receipt of the other fees such as text book, revolving fund, general purpose fund or boarding fees where applicable.

“I would like to appeal to all education division managers to make sure that the content of this circular letter is urgently brought to the attention of all headmasters for information and implementation,” says the  further.

Sources in the Ministry of Education have confided to Nyasa Times that the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) are using this as campaign tool to offer free secondary education.

Governance and rights activist Makhumbo Munthali told Nyasa Times that the Ministry of Education communique seems to suggest that government is  considering introducing free Secondary School education.

“ While the idea to introduce such a policy is ambitious and good in as far as increasing access to education for those learners who would not manage to pay fees, the question of the timing of when such a policy should be implemented should be seriously looked into,” he said.

Munthali argued that  already the country is failing  to successfully manage primary education despite introducing free primary education with the burden to cover the deficits now transfered to parents under the so-called development funds and others.

“No wonder many have repeatedly said Primary School is not free – a complete diversion from the Education Act of 2013. It is against such a background that many would still raise serious doubts on the feasibility of government implementing free primary education,” he said.

Munthali added: “ Just like Primary Education experience, government may simply transfer the burden of financing the likely huge deficit that may be incurred in financing free tuition secondary education to parents and learners under the non-tuition fees like PTA/Development funds at school level.”

He said informed by the free Primary School experience, it would therefore be important for government to clearly spell out the mechanisms it has put in place in order to successfully implement the new free secondary school policy.

“Politically, it is clear that this  decision may have been made bythe DPP government in order to strengthen its chances of winning the 2019 Tripartite elections. It may hence be seen as one of those desperate attempts by the ruling party to outsmart its strong competitors in MCP and UTM in the election.

“However, the only problem with ‘politically-motivated’ policies is that they are often not sustainable, and they in the short or long term put huge burden on the tax-payer. In summary, its important that government addresses the shortfalls with the implementation of free primary education before extending such a policy to secondary school,” Munthali said.

In Africa, Ghana is already offering free secondary education which started  under President Nana Akufo- Addo. In 2015 Gambia removed fees for all public primary and secondary schools, while in 2016 Tanzania removed lower secondary school fees.

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#DzukaniAmalawi
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#DzukaniAmalawi

Whilst a free secondary shall education is a great move, such policy shift must be thoroughly debated as it has major budget implications likely to strain the fiscus. Some funds have to be diverted from key allocations/vote to fund free education as the K1,5 trillion was fully allocated to various projects and for the recurrent expenditure. DPP govt hasn’t got sharp pencils in its pencil case, so likely they haven’t thought through the implications of implementing such a audacious policy. You can’t try and fix a Boeing in mid air….its a recipe for disaster. You can’t be just changing policies… Read more »

EAC
Guest

They will dalay or not pay tuition fee which only K500.00. This is a very small amount which means the releaf will be ineligible.

Truemalawian
Guest
Truemalawian

This is what I personally know about the Prof APM. He is the man who put the people’s lives at heart despite having poor minded advisors and some ministers who are helping him to achieve his dreams .Bravo Mr. President, Never mind those who are accusing your government but they are enjoying the works of your hands talk of good roads in both towns and the remotest areas like the Lilongwe VIA Kabudula, Malembo to Santhe, community collages all over the country and many more. Malawians let us start appreciating what others are doing and God will bless us.

Pumbwa
Guest
Pumbwa

I have never seen a a constipating government like this. Puma bwanji? Uku nde ku balalika kwa pumbwa

ndele
Guest
ndele

idiots musasokonoze anthu pls inu a DPP mwava , dont confuse pipo with your un ajenda ajendas pls pls.
palibe covekatu apa. so mitu nguni nguni zopanda time frame not even coincise and eeeeee musatinyasepo apa, muufuna muziti tinapangitsa school ikhakle yaulele, muluzi anabhlanda kale. tinkaphuzila school nthawi ya kamuzu inuuuuu. mwagona kodi, maloto a cumba eti tavionani wati

DPP Cadet
Guest

This will note away peoples mind that they are thieves. No one with Nzeru can forget your shady dealings in KALOSWE Chimanga, 145million. ESCOM Fuel, ESCOM money etc mwapita mwqapita basi. Maliro akatuluka sabwereranso mnyumba. GOODBYE!! ADIEU PAWEMI DPP. and when you hear these thugs say Dpp oyeee, this woyee ndi kulira komaliza. Your time is up just pack your bags and a green card quickly before dawn

CONCERNED GUARDIAN
Guest
CONCERNED GUARDIAN

I WONDER WHY THE SAME GOVERNMENT DURING HOLIDAY WE RECEIVED COMMUNICATION THAT SCHOOL FEES HAS BEEN INCREASED FROM K41500 UP TO K52000 FOR THIS FIRST TERM THATS AT CHITIPA SECONDARY SCHOOL.

MA D7 MA D6
Guest
MA D7 MA D6

PHWANYA PHWANYA PHWANYA !! WAKE AMENEYI BWINO NAZOTU MUNGAZAVUTITSE ANZANU AKUZATENGA BOMAWA

Goms
Guest
Goms

Sec schools were already almost free. Imagine students of the gorverment Blantyre Sec School were paying only about K20000 . per student per term. This was almost free education. Imagine the food the students eat for the whole term

DR MANGA
Guest

DPP YAPEZA LIKASA LA MAYANKHO A INVIGILATOR ATALENGEZA KUTI 5 MINUTES TO GO.KKKKKKKKK

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