Parents and guardians of pupils learning at Mama Khadija Girls Primary School in the area of Traditional Authority (T/A) Jalasi in Mangochi have complained that the District’s Education Manager’s (DEM) Office is failing to provide teaching and learning materials at the school due to issues surrounding on school uniform.
Mama Khadija Girls Primary school is a public institution and was established in 2010 after communities around the school asked DEM office to consider them opening the school to help reduce congestion at Masongola 2 Primary School and the surrounding schools.
And the school is using the structures of Al-Barakah Charity Trust, a Muslim charity Trust which has different programmes in Malawi among them being a string of schools.
Speaking during the interface meeting organized by the National Initiative for Civic Education (NICE) Trust recently at Masongola Teacher Development Centre (TDC) in the area, School Management Committee Secretary, Robert Mtwiche said the school had been sidelined for a long time and it has adversely affected learners such that even a standard five pupil cannot know how to read and write.
He felt the school is being sidelined because pupils some are Muslims and that they do wear hijab (clothes Muslim women wear)
“We feel the genesis of our trouble here boarders on school uniform. But we wonder because the uniform these pupils are wearing were chosen by the parents during Parents and Teachers Association Meeting (P.T.A) and the same went to DEM’s office for approval as per requirement and it received their blessing, but here we are being denied the resources,” worried Mtwiche.
“Let me tell you that this issue is an outstanding one .It is the one of the issues that forced communities to chase away Chauluka Muwake (one of the Primary Education Advisor for the area) .He (Muwake) couldbe withholding teaching and learning materials, accusing communities around this area were failing to comply with government’s policy on school uniform.
“But if you could check the policy it is not clea because it is saying pupils should not be forced to wear any form of uniform but should be advised to put on simple and neat clothing. So why punishing us in this way?” he wondered.
Mangochi NICE District Civic Education Officer, Turner Banda urged the people to meet the District Commissioner, so that the compromise should arrive and that the school should enjoy the support just like other government schools.