Concerned by increased cases of school dropout, authorities in Chikwawa have launched a primary school uniform wearing initiative to provide awareness to parents and children on the importance of education.
Chikwawa district education manager (DEM) Chrissie Chimsale said on Thursday they wore primary school uniforms to motivate learners to remain in school and aim high
He said: “It is important for the children to understand that education is a process. It is not something that you start and complete within a short period. There are problems in it but need determination and focus. I believe our attire today gives a picture that for us to be where we are, we were once in primary school,”
Chimsale said with workmates from the Department of Education in collaboration with social welfare, police, judiciary, non-governmental organisations, they launched the campaign to sensitise people to the importance of promoting inclusive education, child rights as well as promoting girl child education.
The DEM said it is worrisome that the district is still one of the 10 poor-performing districts in Malawi, adding that it still has a five percent increase in school dropout, high repetition rate, low pass rate and low completion.
Chimsale attributed the pathetic situation to hidden cultural practices such as initiation ceremonies, which she said traumatise children consequently forcing most of teenage girls to abscond school.
“It is sad that children, especially girls are told irrelevant things at initiation camps. Such things are negatively affecting the girl child education. At the same time I should urge girls to refrain from early marriages and concentrate on education,” he said.
In her remarks, Chikwawa District social welfare officer Rosemary Mahata said apart from bad cultural practices, increased incidents of forced marriages, rape, defilement and child labour are also some of the factors hampering children’s rights.
“It is everyone’s responsibility to promote safe practices and inclusive education,” said Mahata.
Chikwawa Police Station officer in charge assistant commissioner Davie Chingwalu and first grade magistrate Gladstone Chirundu have issued a stern warning to all people that abuse children. n