By Dyna Mtalimanja Banda, MANA
Some Standard 8 learners in Dowa have been forced to drop out of school after failing to pay K2,000 for identity cards required by Malawi National Examinations Board (MANEB) if one is to sit for Primary School Leaving Certificate Examinations (PLSCE).
A report produced by District Education Management Information System (DEMIS) Office, shows 556 learners dropped out after failing to pay processing fee for the IDs.
Out of the 556 dropouts, Kayembe Zone experienced the highest at 65 drop outs, seconded by Mponela Zone with 55 and Chigudu with 46.
The report also noted that 303 of the dropouts are girls, representing 54 percent.
Dowa District Education Manager (DEM), Alexander Manyengo has since urged parents to be diligent in paying the processing fees to reduce dropouts and improve education.
“The parents know that when writing MANEB examinations, learners are supposed to pay money and I do not think it is really as a result of failure to produce the money, but lack of sense to value education by the parents,” he said.
Manyengo further stressed the need to sensitise the community so that they should value education, which he said might curb the problem of learners dropping out because of K2,000.
The district education manager stated that communities, facilitated by traditional leaders, should make bylaws to push parents to pay for all the school requirements for their children to go to school.
“We need to sensitise communities to make bylaws that will hold the parents accountable if they fail to meet their children’s school needs.
“Therefore, the bylaws should be established and owned by them not us, for better implementation,” he stressed.
In his remarks, Dowa DEMIS Officer, Amigo Wizimani said apart from the ID processing fee set by MANEB, schools also request for an extra fee ranging from K300 to K500 for photos to be paid to photographers involved in the work.