Delays in opening a girls’ hostel at Nyungwe Community Day Secondary School (CDSS) in Karonga have left girls learning at the school sleeping in classrooms which do not have hostel facilities.
The hostel project started in 2009 as one of the initiatives to reduce girl-child school dropouts by the Ministry of Education, Science and Technology (MoEST) but the project is not complete six years down the line.
“During this rainy season, we always suffer because the windows are open and our books and clothes get wet now and then, and we also feel insecure at night because the doors are open,” said Nolias Mkandawire, a Form Four pupil.
“Apart from that, there are a lot of girls who are boarding here. As a result, we have no option but to cram in the rooms. Up to 50 of us sleep in one classroom. I wish the ministry finished the hostel project as soon as yesterday.”
The school’s head teacher, John Kaira, said the school started boarding girls in 2014 after the community noted that a lot of them were failing examinations due to the distance they walked to and from school or in self-boarding.
He said only 23 girls passed the 2014/2015 Malawi School Certificate of Education (MSCE) examinations, adding that 180 girls are boarding at the school at the moment.
“We have asked the ministry to allow the girls to start living in the hostel,” said Kaira.
A tour around the four hostel facilities indicated that major works remaining are installation of electricity and connection to water supply.
MoEST spokesperson Rebecca Phwitiko attributed the delay to lack of funding, but said the contractor, J and J Construction, has indicated that the project will be completed in March.