Minister of Education, Science and Technology William Susuwele Banda has distanced his ministry from claims that Form One students are selected into secondary schools using quota system, saying the students are selected on merit.
Speaking, during a media briefing at Capital Hill in Lilongwe, Banda said the recent second selection of students into public secondary schools was strictly based on merit in all categories of secondary schools.
He said through the merit system, all students across the country are considered for places in secondary schools based on performance.
Said the minister: “This is a national merit which is applied to all irrespective of their division or region. If students do not appear within the cut-off mark, they are not selected.”
He said proximity and economic factors were not considered in the second selection, meaning students were not confined to their education division but spread to other divisions “for the purpose of building national unity”.
Following the release of the second selection list on December 27 2019 in which 17 831 students were selected to various public secondary schools, a grouping called Quota Must Fall Movement accused the Ministry of Education, Science and Technology of using the quota system to select students to the schools.
The group’s spokesperson Reverend William Mumba asked government to clarify the criteria used in selecting the students, claiming it is mostly students from the Southern Region that were selected to national secondary schools.
But the minister said the students that qualifiedfor selection to the national secondary schools were allocated to the schools based on vacancies declared in the institutions regardless of where they come from.
A total of 125 students were selected to national secondary schools, 3 105 students were to other conventional secondary schools while 14 381 students went to community day secondary schools.