An assessment by Civil Society Education Coalition (Csec) has exposed problems with textbook allocation and deployment of teachers in primary schools in Kasungu District.
Csec conducted a Public Expenditure Tracking on textbooks and teacher deployment to check the status of key education standards like pupil to teacher ratio, pupil to classroom ratio, pupil to textbook ratio and availability of teachers’ houses to undertake teachers’ transfers.
Csec project officer Kisa Kumwenda said the assessment was done to afford civil society organisations (CSOs) information when analysing district budget allocation priorities and how they reflect the reality on the ground.
He said the ratios were below the recommended standards.
Said Kumwenda: “The average ratio of pupils to teachers is 81:1, but you find that in some schools it goes as high as 179:1. On pupil to classroom, the average is 163 with some schools going even as high as 364:1 while pupil to textbook ratio seems normal at an average of 1:2.
“On textbook usage, it was discovered that 73 percent of the textbooks are not being used, but kept somewhere safe.”
Other findings included poor community will towards school development, poor monitoring system by the district education manager’s (DEM) office, slow textbook procurement process and poor resource management in the case of textbooks.
Commenting on the assessment as a district executive committee (DEC) member, National Initiative for Civic Education (Nice) trust district civic education officer Gerald Chirwa said considering what decentralisation entails, there is need to address the issue at council level.
Director of administration at Kasungu District Council, Eric Nema, while agreeing with Chirwa, said there was also need for the results to reach the committee on education at council level.