By Jackson Soko, Mana
Over 20 community day secondary schools (CDSS) and convectional secondary schools in 14 districts across the country have benefited from Re-construction and Expansion of Selected Community Day Secondary Schools and Convectional Secondary schools (RESCDSS-CSSs) Project since its rolling out in 2010.
The development saw the opening of nine CDSSs and two conventional secondary schools under the project’s Phases 3 and 4 from eight districts on Wednesday at Mwatibu CDSS in Lilongwe which was constructed with the help of the Japanese Aid.
Speaking during the ceremony, Minister of Education, Science and Technology, Bright Msaka reiterated government commitment to improving secondary education by creating conducive environment for learners in both rural and urban schools.
“Like we have been saying recently, if we are moving forward, we shouldn’t have schools that don’t have adequate resources.
“Every school must have adequate facilities, the school that has no laboratory, library, enough administration blocks and adequate infrastructure, that school must not be opened,” Msaka clarified.
He thanked the Japanese Government for the support it is rendering to the Government of Malawi and the entire Malawians.
The minister took the opportunity of the ceremony to inform the parents, teachers, guardians and stakeholders that from January 1, 2019, President Peter Mutharika has directed that tuition fees be removed for all government secondary schools.
“Government makes sure that every student finishes secondary school education that is why it is constructing more secondary schools across the country. Key barrier to education is school fees and it is the biggest anxiety to parents during the festive season.
“That is why our president Arthur Peter Mutharika has abolished secondary school fees from January next year. His Excellency wants to give equal opportunities to all families regardless of their family status,” the minister said.
Japanese Ambassador to Malawi, Kae Yanagisawa, said the construction of secondary schools has cost the equivalent of U$17.6 million from Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA).
“The agreement was made 2010 to increase school facilities in Malawi because after the Malawi Government changed the education policy in 1994 to provide free primary school education, more students went to secondary schools.
“So, we are also very committed to developing science and technology in Malawi as well as in Africa as you know the two are very important in the modern whole,” Yanagisawa said.
She further said she was impressed to note the increase of pass rate and decrease in the average number of students per classroom to 50 from 85 before the project.
The Japanese Ambassador, therefore, assured Malawians Japan would continue to support the country in the education sector to hence the country’s development.
“The Japanese Government is also providing scholarships for secondary school teachers to earn diplomas at various universities in Japan. And out of 25 awardees so far admitted, 12 are from CDSSs. I hope teachers from the 23 secondary schools under the project will also apply for the scholarship,” she said.n her remarks, Traditional Authority Mazengera thanked government for developments taking place in her area, saying school dropout rate will go down because of new school facilities.
Speaking on the sidelines of the ceremony, a form three student, Alodi Ali of Mwatibu Community Day Secondary School said he was confident he would realize his future dreams since the school now had all the necessary equipment to help a student make it in life.
“This will help me as far as my studies are concerned. For example, in science subjects, we have a laboratory which will equip us with practical skills,” Ali said.
Some of schools that have benefited from the project from 2010 across the country are Chikhwaza, Zolozolo, Namalomba, Ezondweni and Mpamba CDSSs.