Three more primary schools will be constructed in Mbayani to decongest Mbayani One Primary School, Minister of Education Science and Technology, Bright Msaka, has said.
Msaka deplored congestion at Mbayani One Primary School which has 10,00 learners and 74 teachers representing a teacher-pupil ratio of 1:126 against the recommended ratio of 1:60.
Mbayani is one of the densely populated townships in Blantyre.
Speaking after touring the school, Msaka said the large number of learners is a draw back to the promotion of quality education in the country as teachers are overwhelmed and pupils’ monitoring and assessment becomes a challenge.
He gave an assurance that the ministry is already set to start constructing three other primary schools at Likhubula and at Chapima Heights in the area.
“We are committed to addressing this challenge and I can assure the community here that construction of the new primary schools will start this April. We value education highly and appreciates how a good learning environment, physical infrastructure and quality of teachers contribute towards quality education in a country,” Msaka said.
Commenting on the challenge, head teacher for Mbayani one Primary School Joe Magombo said that in an attempt to help serve the situation, Mbayani II Junior Primary School was constructed in 2015 but with time, the number of learners kept on increasing to the extent that the situation now is just as it was before the opening of the new school.
“It is really difficult for a single teacher to manage up to 120 students at a time; even marking exercises is not easy. My plea is that the ministry upgrades Mbayani II Junior Primary School to a full primary school and also construct more primary schools in this area,” he said.
Magombo also explained that the fact that the area has no secondary school, has also aggravated the problem as learners’ transition from primary to secondary is affected by limited spaces in secondary schools from other areas.
“It is my request that government constructs community day and conventional secondary schools in this area. Our learners face challenges to secure places for secondary school education in areas such as Ndirande or Chilomoni because priority is given to students from those areas, and our learners keep repeating classes to remain in school,” explained the head teacher.
Concurring with the head teacher, Goliati Mathirauza whose children learn at the school, said many children in the area are dropping out of school because they lose interest while others are forced to go to private schools operating below average.