US, Malawi in drive to expand secondary education sector: 5 schools constructed in Machinga

In a bid to give more girls and boys a chance to attain secondary education, the United States government has handed over four newly constructed community day secondary schools in Machinga, in a move Malawi says will significantly reduce a critical deficit of classroom spaces in secondary schools.

The newly opened Nambaiko CDSS in Machinga

Minister of Education, Bright Msaka cuts the ribbon assisted by US Ambassador Virginia Palmer. Looking on is Paramount Chief Kawinga of Machinga

US Ambassador Virginia Palmer and Education Minister, Bright Msaka, unveiling the plaque of the new school

The move is part of the

Education Minister Bright Msaka interacts with a class of form ones at Nambaiko CDSS

Apatseni Mwayi Atsikana Aphunzire (AMAA) initiative funded through United States Agency for International Development (USAID), which is expected to open up space for 300 form one students across the district.

Through the AMAA project, and also through the Secondary Education Expansion for Development (SEED) program agreed between the US and Malawi governments early this year, the partners plan to construct over a 100 classrooms and schools across the length and breadth of this country.

Speaking when she handed over Nambaiko Community Day Secondary School in Machinga Central, the US Ambassador Virginia Palmer described the move as a positive investment towards the education of girls in Malawi, adding that the initiative will address challenges of schools fees, early marriages, teenage pregnancies and the risky long walk to school that was exposing girls to threats of sexual advances by older men on the way.

In addition to constructing the school at Nambaiko and other community day secondary schools at Kayuni, Mwalasi and Ntalala, USAID and its implementing partner Save the Children, are through the AMAA project expected to complete construction of a fifth school in the district by the end of the year.

“These schools represent the vanguard of the United States Government’s support for secondary expansion in Malawi,” said Palmer.

Palmer said through the Brookings Institute report of 2016 titled “Evidence for the World’s best Investment,” the positive outcomes of educating girls are that there is increased economic benefits for the family, community and the country, improved maternal and infant health, small families, healthier and better educated children, reduced rates of HIV/AIDS and malaria and greater family resilience to climate change and natural disasters.

Receiving the schools, Minister of Education, Science and Technology Bright Msaka expressed government’s gratitude for the US support towards expansion of secondary education in the country, adding that the government will ensure that each school has a modern library and is stocked with adequate teaching and learning materials in addition to other facilities, such as teachers’ houses, in order to give the students full academic ammunition that will turn them into productive citizens that will drive Malawi’s development agenda.

“We would like to ensure that our citizens are sufficiently equipped with knowledge and skills to effectively develop this country and also compete for global opportunities,” Msaka said.

He said the government will select students for forms two and three from other nearby schools to join the 60 students that have been selected to start form one at each of the five secondary schools.

Through the AMAA project, 15 form one girls and five boys with good academic grades will be receiving bursaries each year to cover tuition fees.

In his remarks, Paramount Chief Kawinga urged the communities to guard against vandalism of the schools, which he said are a precious gift to the people of Machinga.

“We will come up with bi-laws that will ensure that those that will destroy school property are punished accordingly,” the Paramount chief said.

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