Member of Parliament (MP) for Blantyre City South East, Victor Mbewe, on Wednesday handed over a two classroom school block to communities around the area of Group Village Headman Ntenje under Traditional Authority Machinjiri in Blantyre.
Speaking during the handover ceremony, Mbewe said acute shortage of learning facilities is one of the various challenges hampering improvement of standards of education in the country.
Mbewe cited limited number of teachers, shortage of classrooms and long distance pupils travel to access education as some of the challenges the sector is currently facing. Apart from lowering the quality of education, the MP said these problems also contribute to the high rate of school drop-outs for many schools in the country.
“Realizing the importance of education to the socio economic development of the country, we decided to build the school block so as to increase enrollment at the school as well as address the challenge of insufficient classrooms,” said Mbewe.
He added, “Ntenje Primary School is one of the oldest schools in Blantyre and currently it has over 1,317 pupils against five classrooms. This is a bad situation because you cannot have over 180 pupils per class.”
Built under Local Development Fund (LDF) through the Education Sector Wider Approach (ESWAP), the K10 million school block will increase the number of classrooms from seven to nine.
District Education Manager (DEM) for Blantyre Rural responsible for Primary Education, Paul Chiphanda, said a total of 2,700 public primary schools in the district are facing acute shortage of classrooms.
Chiphanda said the situation has forced many pupils to drop-out of school and that teachers were having challenges to manage over 180 pupils in one classroom.
“There are just many challenges that we are facing and shortage of school blocks is one of them. To be honest, we have many schools where pupils are learning under a tree and you cannot expect such learners to perform well,” explained Chiphanda.
He then commended the MP for the school block saying it will ease pressure and provide pupils with a conducive learning environment.
Group Village Headman (GVH) Ntenje saluted Mbewe for keeping his promise.
“From the time this school was built, there have never been additional school blocks despite the population growth in this area. I must therefore commend Mbewe and the Ministry of Education Science and Technology for this wonderful gesture,” the Chief said.
Meanwhile, the GVH has appealed to the Member of Parliament to also connect the school with electricity which the MP accepted to do.
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