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Wednesday, 29 August 2018 12:40

Children without uniform should be allowed in class - Msaka

Written by  Patrick Ndawala
Nsaka accompanied by Education PS, Justin Saidi (far left) tour the construction project - Pic by Patrick Ndawala Nsaka accompanied by Education PS, Justin Saidi (far left) tour the construction project - Pic by Patrick Ndawala

Machinga, August 28, 2018: Government has advised primary school authorities in the country to allow children without uniform to attend classes without hindrance.

Minister of Education, Science and Technology, Bright Msaka gave the advice on Monday when he visited Namalasa Primary School in Machinga to appreciate construction works of two classroom blocks.

Msaka said teachers should allow children from ultra-poor families to learn without putting on school uniform, saying children whose parents and guardians cannot afford to buy school uniform should not be barred from accessing education.

“We can break the poverty cycle from family level if we allow children to learn without hindrance. Sending children back home because they are not putting on uniform is not good for development,” Msaka said.

The minister said government values the important role school uniform plays in fostering good quality education standards. However, he expressed worry over some cultural practices that were hindering children, especially girls from completing education.

He said Machinga is one of the districts in the country with high rate of early marriages and teenage pregnancies.

“At one school, there were 119 female pupils in Std 1 but only 24 reached Std 8. It was sad to learn that others dropped out of school because of early marriage and pregnancies,” Msaka bemoaned.

Msaka, therefore, appealed to traditional leaders and other community members to end harmful cultural practices by, among other things, giving stiff punishment to parents who force their children into marriage at a tender age at the expense of education.

He also asked school governance structures such as the patents-teacher associations and mother support groups to follow up on all female learners when they are about to drop out of school to ensure increased retention rate.

Msaka then urged chiefs in the district to emulate Senior Chief Kachindamoto, whom he said, has earned international recognition for promoting girl child education, adding that government introduced the school readmission policy to give an opportunity to teen mothers to complete their education.

He disclosed that government has recruited about 20,000 teachers in the past years because it realizes the crucial role teachers play in the education sector.

“Last year, government recruited 9, 630 teachers and this year it has deployed over 10, 000 to various schools in the country,” he added.

Msaka who has pledged to build a head teacher’s house at Namasala Primary School using his personal money, also assured people of Group Village Headman Mulipa that government would soon build more teachers’ houses at the school.

On this note, Msaka thanked Heart to Heart Foundation for sinking a borehole and the African Parks for constructing a classroom block at Namalasa Primary School.

Head teacher for Namalasa Primary School, Johnston Misomali told Mana that the school, which was established in 2014 with Std 1 only, has expanded to Std 6. It has a total enrolment of 939 learners out of whom 495 are girls.

Misomali commended surrounding communities for their contribution towards the development of the school in form of resource mobilization towards the construction of the classroom blocks.

“The first school block was entirely supported by the community. They molded bricks and contributed quarry stones and sand. Brick layers were people from the community and they offered themselves to build the school block for free,” Misomali explained.

In his remarks, Traditional Authority Nsanama asked government to build teachers houses at the school, saying learning at the school is sometimes compromised by late reporting of teachers as their houses are located far from the school.

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