19 November 2017
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Tuesday, 31 October 2017 13:59

Ministry warns will close close primary school for operating in a mosque

Written by  Evance Chisiano
Primary school pupils need conducive learning environment - File Photo Primary school pupils need conducive learning environment - File Photo

Machinga, October 31, 2017: Ministry of Education has warned that it will close Mdikira Local Education Authority (LEA) Junior Primary School in Machinga for operating in a mosque.

Machinga District Education Manager, Sarah Khozi, sounded the warning in an interview with Malawi News Agency following the community’s failure to identify a neutral place for classes.

“If the community fails to identify a better place, my office will have no option but to close the school as this is not what we agreed with them,” said the DEM who said her office felt cheated by the community.

Mdikira Junior Primary School is situated in Group Village Head Nkula about ten kilometers to Chimkwezule Primary School and another Ten kilometers to Bisa Primary School at Chingale Turn-off.

The school, which has standards one and two, is in Traditional Authority Nkula where the communities requested Machinga DEM offices to allow the establishment of the school to ensure early grade learners access to education as opposed to travelling long distances to other schools in the area.

Khozi explained that before the school opened its doors for operations, her office visited the area for verification and was shown some makeshift structures that were meant for a school.

However, she described it as unfortunate that the community members decided to use the mosque as a learning point instead, which was contrary to what they agreed on.

“This is an LEA school and is not supposed to operate at borrowed premises,” she added, saying  her office recommends that a school should  be established  at a place where there is  enough land for additional blocks and that the land  should be free from land disputes,  among other qualifications.  

Traditional Authority Nkula confirmed the irregularity, saying the school was operating on borrowed premises. He said this was done in the best interest of children that could have shunned school due to long distances.

He said the structures that were meant for the junior primary school were unfit for learning as they were erected some time back.

“The community built some makeshift structures for a start but they collapsed before the school started operating,” Traditional Authority Nkula added.

Nkula Area Development Committee secretary, Hanna Michi, also acknowledged the irregularity, saying this was done as a temporary measure to provide education to early grade learners as the community was preparing to construct structures at a new place.

“We will mobilize communities to erect new makeshift structure as we are planning to build permanent structures,” Michi said.  

Mdikira Junior Primary school head, George Mpendama, said the school was operating with four teachers against an enrollment of over 200 children in standards one and two in the sixth week of the first term of 2017/2018 school calendar.

He said the proposed site for the school is about 500 metres from the present borrowed premises.

“A borrowed premise will remain a borrowed premise,” Mpendama said while expressing hope that the community will speed up the process of constructing the new structures at the newly identified place.  

2017 has seen the birth of Mdikira, Misolo, Makumba and Mkwakwawila junior primary schools in Machinga.

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