Malawi Union of the Blind urges for more funding for special needs education

Malawi Union of the Blind (MUB) has expressed concern over inadequate funding towards special needs education and asked government to consider allocating more resources for the same.

MUB members with visualy impared learners at Ekwendeni.-Photo by Benard Mhone, Mana

MUB Executive Director, Ezekiel Mkandawire, raised the concern recently when the union donated assorted food items and clothes to Ekwendeni School for People with visual impairment in Mzimba District.

He said inadequate funds contribute to learners’ poor performance in the country’s special needs schools.

“As an organization that deals with rights and needs of people with visual impairment, we are concerned with what is happening at the moment. Our constitution clearly states that each and every person has the right to education, so we are part of the citizens.

“It is very unfair that learners with visual impairment are treated and ignored like that. Parliament has been reviewing 2017 to 2018 budget; it is very unfortunate that money allocated to us is very little. We feel sidelined,” Mkandawire said.

He, therefore, asked government to prioritise equal treatment to all education stakeholders as a way of improving education in the country.

Head teacher for Ekwendeni School for People with Visual Impairment, Jean Kayira, concurred with Mkandawire, saying the school receives very little per month.

“We receive between K320, 000 and K420, 000 monthly, which is too minimal. Just imagine, we have an outstanding water bill of K286 000 for last month. What about electricity, food and wages for support staff? An allocation of over K800 000 can be better.

“Our learners need enough necessities for them to learn properly and they need a balanced diet to be healthy and report for classes every day,” Kayira said.

She added that the school does not have enough Braille paper which forces teachers to teach learners orally.

Ekwendeni School for People with Visual Impairment was established in 1974 and currently has 50 students.

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