Pupils in Malawi primary schools need to be encouraged to freely express their feelings on matters that impact their everyday life if they are to perform well, Youth Net and Counselling (Yoneco) has said.
Yoneco projects officer Hughes Munthali speaking in Chikhwawa where the organisation drilled 20 school based counsellors from Mitole and Chilongoma primary schools on how they can help pupils to be assertive enough to report abuses to authorities and freely talk about their reproductive health.
The week-long training was part of the Star School Project that Yoneco is implementing in Chikhwawa with funding from Education Expertise Development Foundation (EEDF) in order to increase access and quality of basic education in the district’s schools.
“Pupils that keep within themselves grievances concerning the abuses they face at school or at home cannot do well in class because they have no free state of mind to concentrate on studies but think about their problems.
“We, therefore, want these teachers to help remove from the pupils’ minds the fear of speaking out their problems so that their performance in class can improve,” Munthali said.
Representatives of the trained school based counsellors, who are also teachers at the respective primary schools Edwin Lapozo and Marcia Nihero, said the skills they have obtained from the workshop will help to reduce school dropouts in the district.
“We have now realised that teachers’ poor understanding of pupils’ character traits is one of the main contributing factors to high school dropout rate in Chikhwawa.
“Now, there will be a big change on how we handle pupils in school,” said Lapozo.