The greatest investment any nation can make in its future is to invest in its young people and especially in their education. Every other nation recognises this fact and all nations which are determined to get out of poverty do invest in the education of their children.
Here in Malawi, we are falling over ourselves and looking for every possible opportunity to frustrate the education of our children. These are children not from another country, but our children, our own blood.
If this nation was serious about its future, I could by now have been preparing to start my third year in the University. Others could have been preparing to start their second year and yet others could have been looking forward to start first year. None of us have yet been invited to commence our studies at the University. We have wasted two or three precious years of our lives. We will never recover these years.
Malawi has lost part of its future, it has lost its wholesome future. Whilst the children of those responsible for the predicament we are in, are possibly elsewhere outside the country pursuing their studies uninterrupted. Even if we do go to the University, we will learn in overcrowded classrooms if we are lucky. Otherwise, we will learn in tents and perhaps under mango trees. Not the kind of University education environment we had aspired for nor the one we all admired in the early years of our independence.
To you our politicians, your legacy will be judged by what you do for the future of this country â€“ the youth. We have seen politicians who allow their bloated egos to blind them and not see the larger needs of this nation and especially to the needs of young people and their education. They could afford to keep the University closed for months in order to soothe their egos. It is time now to demonstrate that you care about the future of this country. Otherwise I will be asking why I am still sitting at home when I should be in the University. I will ask why even today I do not know the date when I will be able to walk the corridors of the University.
In the past week the Primary School Leaving Certificate [PSLC] and Junior Certificate [JC] examination results have been released by Maneb. Up to 40 000 of us at JC and many more at PSLC have been declared failures. Essentially what this means is that we have been thrown into the dustbin.
Our hopes, our dreams and our aspirations have also been thrown into the dustbin. The Government will not build additional classrooms and provide additional teachers to let us repeat our classes.
Those who have the means will go to some decrepit but expensive private school to repeat their classes but for the majority of us, this is the end of the road.
Although we are declared failures, some of us if we were given the right education environment could have fulfilled our dreams of becoming doctors, nurses, engineers and teachers to serve this country. You have lost us.
But do remember that we sometimes come back to haunt and embarrass you.Â We end up as criminals, unemployed youth, street children and prostitutes on your streets.
But who are we and why have we failed? Behind these failure statistics are we, the faces of children of mostly rural poor families who are thirsting for an education. Our poor parents sacrifice the little resources they have to send us to school.
They also believe that education will one day make us break out of the cycle of poverty, but we go to community day secondary schools where there are no adequate classrooms, no laboratories, not enough qualified teachers, inadequate teaching and learning materials. We are not failures. You have failed us.
Do not tell me that the biggest allocation of the national budget goes to education. What does that mean to me when I cannot learn, when the system is such that I am bound to be a failure from the day I am born.
To you parents, we are your children, but you have hardly raised a concerted voice to push those that hold the keys to the University to open them for us to enter and drink from the well of knowledge. You watch as most of us succumb to the barriers to education that have been erected against us.
If you cannot fight for the education of us your children, who will?- The author is a Malawian and writes wearing the shoes of a frustrated youth