The Kalondolondo Programme, an initiative that tracks down government’s projects, has called for the recognition of self-boarding initiatives in community day secondary schools (CDSSs) as one way of offering quality education to communities.
Kalondolondo programme manager Jephter Mwanza was reacting to an assessment of girls self-boarding arrangement in Mzimba by the Church and Society Programme of the Livingstonia CCAP Synod.
The assessment on the quality of girls self-boarding initiative and its overall impact on education services in the district revealed that girls face challenges such as lack of security, poor quality of accommodation, long distances between schools and boarding facilities, congestion at boarding facilities, harassment by men and lack of basic necessities such as potable water, toilets and food.
“The overall impact of self-boarding arrangement is that it is generally good because girls are afforded the opportunity to access certain facilities for their education such as group work. But it also encourages immoral practices among girls due to lack of authority,” states the report.
Speaking at an interface meeting in Mzimba on Tuesday, Mwanza said self-boarders in CDSSs face challenges because government disowned the initiative through a circular to head teachers.
“If government disowns self-boarding, it means they are socially excluding the poor from education. In fact, it is another form of discrimination. As Kalondolondo, we will fight to make sure that government withdraws this circular because it violates rights of the poor instead of protecting them,” he said.
Mzimba district education manager (DEM) Leman Mvula asked communities to lobby for more CDSSs than set up initiatives that are not recognised by government.
“Government’s policy is that CDSSs are day secondary schools, demanded and managed by communities,” he said.