By Caroline Nyalugwe – Mana.
Education Sector in Thyolo and Child Education Activists have expressed concerns over increased number of primary school learners who have dropped out of school due to various reasons including child marriages.
In an interview with Malawi News Agency (Mana) on Monday, Thyolo District Chief Education Officer, Godfrey Kubwense, said 5,000 learners in primary school alone drop out of school which has led to reduce number of learners in primary schools.
“We had 200,000 pupils last school year but it is so sad that this year the figures have dropped to 195,000 pupils, which represent 5 percent dropout rate.
“We never expected that our office will record such a higher number within a very short period of time and research shows that as district we have lost many learners due to child marriages, poverty and Covid-19 related causes,” he said.
Kubwense added that some of the learners left school and went out to look for piece works so as to take care of themselves and their families.
Commenting on the matter, Education Commentator, Benedicto Kondowe said it was pity that the efforts put by the government to improve education in the country, communities are failing to materialize because of child marriages and poverty among other reasons.
“Thyolo is one of the districts in the country that showed education improvements over a few years ago even in Malawi National Examination Board selection as such government and other Non-governmental organizations need to make efforts in making a conducive learning environment for the girl child so that girls remain in school,” he added.
Kondowe suggested that the government should help the needy learners with learning materials and school fees to keep them in school away from child marriages and piece works that would affect girls’ education.
On the other hand, District Education Office in Thyolo is calling on parents and guardians to take the lead in ensuring that children remain in school and enjoy their right to education.