The vocational training centre the Catholic Church has opened at Chiringa Parish in Phalombe will revolutionise the social and economic status of the district, traditional leaders have said.
Phalombe is one of the districts operating without a public technical and vocational training centre.
Group Village Head Phodogoma said since the process of identifying candidates for public universities is rigorous and sometimes corrupt, technical and vocational education is the most effective human resource development strategy poor communities need to embrace.
But Phodogoma bemoaned the absence of a public technical college in the district, saying the situation has contributed to rising poverty among locals and low morale among learners.
“We are very grateful to the Catholic Church for intervening. I am sure this college will help motivate the youth to stay in school,” he said.
Phodogama said he was concerned that the number of students the centre accommodates does not satisfy the demand for vocational training.
He said the centre gives priority to orphans and vulnerable children identified through community-based organisations (CBOs) although there are many boys and girls interested to enrol for training.
“Again, the small number of learners the institution accommodates means it will take ages before registering real change. It would have been good if the centre was accommodating non-orphaned children as well,” said Phodogoma.
An official at Chiringa Vocational Training Centre, who did not want to be identified, said the institution is exploring the possibility of widening its enrolment base to take all interested and qualified candidates on board.