Senior Chief Malemia
* They were joined by Nsanje West MP Mtiza, Councillor Makiyi and school’s headteacher
* School’s security is heavily compromised as it is not fenced and is always invaded by thieves
* At the same students are disturbed through passing motorcycle taxi operators and pedestrians and goats and cattle
* MACRA gift included the settlement of a water bill the school had that was in excess of K4.8 million
By Duncan Mlanjira
Senior Chief Malemia has bemoaned the state of dilapidated structures of Nsanje Secondary School that include lack of hostel space for girls which forced the school’s management to retire its biology lab and convert it as a hostel block.
Senior Chief Malemia said this in his vote of thanks after Malawi Communication Regulatory Authority (MACRA) officially handed over a computer lab to the school on Friday to commemorate World Post Day under the theme ‘Renovate to Recover’.
The Chief took the opportunity to ask guest of honour, Minister of Information Gospel Kazako to convey his plea to the government to seriously consider rehabilitating the school’s dilapidated structures.
He said it was sad that the girl child is being denied her rights to proper education that include, amongst many things, lack of basic sanitary services such as toilets and bathrooms in the improvised hostel in which they also share beds.
He also said the school’s security is heavily compromised as it is not fenced and is always invaded by thieves while at the same students are disturbed through passing livestock — goats and cattle.
Motorcycle taxi operators and pedestrians also disturb students’ learning peace as they use the premises as short cuts for their various travel routes.
“This appeal for assistance also goes to wellwishers who are alumni of this school,” he said. “This school has educated many people over time — who are individuals of high standing in society.
“I also appeal to them to join hands and try and assist in whatever small way they can manage.”
Otherwise, the Senior Chief said he was very proud of the gesture MACRA has done in considering providing an information and communications technology (ICT) lab, saying this generation of learners need to be at par with the rest of the world.
“My fellow chiefs who are present here will agree with me that we never imagined that our kids will one day learn computer skills at a tender age and we are very proud to grace this auspicious occasion.
“We are also humbled that MACRA decided to invite you, Hon. Minister to be the guest of honour as you happen to be a citizen of the Lower Shire,” he said.
The school’s headteacher, Overton Chikuni as well as Nsanje West Member of Parliament, Eurita Mtiza and Council chairperson Rose Makiyi also highlighted the concerns raised by Senior Chief Malemia.
Chikuni said the school’s management and the students are very privileged to be afforded such an ICT lab, which include 14 desktop computers, desks, chairs, a printer, two air conditioners and a high performance photocopier.
“The computer lab will assist us the teachers to prepare exams and assessment reports which we were sourcing from commercial computer service providers.
“We are also greatly grateful that MACRA has renovated the whole school block that houses the computer lab, which leaves us with no option but to seriously revisit our plans of renovating the rest of the structures here.
“As Senior Chief Malemia said, we cannot afford to renovate the school from our own resources and I thus join him in appealing to wellwishers to consider assisting us so that we concentrate on providing the students their right to education.
“We started building the fence but we didn’t go far with the project because of lack of funds. Our first thought for the girls’ accommodation challenges was to build a new hostel altogether but meanwhile we were forced to turn the biology lab into a hostel.
“The heart to do well is there by us, management but we cannot because of lack of resources, thus we appeal to the government as well as wellwishers to come to our assistance.”
He kept applauding MACRA for the gift that also included the settlement of a water bill the school had that was in excess of K4.8 million.
“When we presented this challenge, we were overawed when MACRA announced they were also going to settle the whole water bill. Today, we are able to utilize the whole amount of water we buy water through pre-paid services.
“We were being giving 40% of the water we were buying through pre-paid and the remaining 60% was being deducted to service our K4.8 million debt — leaving us with very little water,” Chikuni said.
In their entertainment performances that included choir songs and drama, the performing students also touched on the challenges they face which were highlighted by Senior Chief Malemia, their headteacher which were solidified by MP Mtiza and Councillor Makiyi.
In his speech, Minister Kazako promised to forward the concerns raised to the right authorities including President Lazarus Chakwera for a team to visit the school and assess its whole needs to map the way forward.
“You have raised very pertinent issues that need to be addressed as soon as possible and I promise you that these concerns are going to reach President Chakwera’s desk for his consideration,” he said to a huge round of applause from the gathering.
Kazako also asked MACRA management and other well-wishing corporate companies to consider building new structures when they are providing computer labs and other academic services instead of renovating one classroom.
“This trend depletes the already scarce classroom structures that schools have. It would be prudent to build a new classroom altogether or even a complete set of a classroom block while at the same time renovating the existing structures,” he said.