The Minister of Education, Science and Technology, Bright Msaka on Thursday demonstrated government’s commitment to improve education standards in the country by handing over about 1,000 desks to eleven primary schools in Machinga district.
Some of the primary schools that have received the desks include St. Theresa, Nathengo, Liwonde, Machinga, Chinduzi, Zanga and Nanthembo.
Speaking during the handover ceremony at St. Theresa Primary School ground, Msaka said the Ministry of Education has supported the eleven schools with 1,045 desks whereby each school would receive 95 desks.
Msaka also said apart from the desks, government would soon embark on rehabilitation of damaged desks in schools and provide other teaching and learning materials such as chalkboards and classroom blocks.
“It is our wish to provide everything that will make teaching and learning enjoyable. We want our children to learn in a good environment,” the Minister assured.
Msaka, however, expressed concern with growing high illiteracy rates in Machinga over the years.
Statistics from Machinga District Education Office shows that out of every 100 people 59 do not know how to read and write.
He, therefore, asked traditional leaders to come up with by-laws that could address issues of school drop outs which contribute to the poor education outcomes, saying government stands ready to develop policies and legislations which support the improvement of education standards.
Msaka also revealed that Machinga district would soon have a boarding secondary school following the construction of hostels at Machinga Secondary School. However, he advised learners to work hard in class, adding; “You can only realize your goals through hard work.”
District Commissioner for Machinga, Bester Mandere observed that high illiteracy rate was hindering development to prevail in the district, adding that it was from the high illiteracy levels that the council had prioritized education such that more resources had been allocated towards the education sector.
“We realize that for meaningful development to take place it requires educated people, hence our priority is to have more literate people who can meaningfully support development efforts by the council,” Mandere said.
Speaking on the sidelines of the handover ceremony, Head teacher for St. Theresa Primary School Maxwell Sinedi said there were only 271 desks at the school against 2 482 learners.
“The recommended ratio is 1 desk to 3 learners. And with the enrolment of 2 482 the school needs to have over 7,000 desks,” Sinedi said, noting that the ever increasing enrolment rate at the school poses a big challenge in as far as availability of resources was concerned.
“We only have 10 toilets, 22 classrooms and 46 qualified teachers which is very low compared to the total number of pupils,” he said, while thanking government for the School Improvement Grant, saying it has helped schools to easily access basic necessities.