Nsanje — Nsanje authorities Tuesday said Action for Adolescents Sports Festivals have proved to be crucial in reducing school drop out in the district.
District Sports Officer, Sherif Malunga said sports activities his department is promoting in some of the district's education zones have reduced drop out as most of the learners who are interested in such activities are encouraged to go to school so that they can participate.
He noted that in the past before the commencement of the UNICEF funded Action for the Adolescents Sports festivals initiative in the two zones namely; Nyachilenda and Mchere, there was high dropout rate.
"The Action for Adolescents Sports Festivals have proved to be a working tool in addressing or reducing primary school dropout. Last year, after discovering that in Nyachilenda and Mchere educational zones there was high school dropout, especially in primary schools, UNICEF started supporting the initiative," Malunga said.
He pointed that,"For your information, with the introduction of the sports disciplines, an initiative which was not there in the past, more learners are encouraged not to miss classes so that they participate in such sporting activities after knocking off. There are a lot of interesting things when these festivals are happening.
"For instance today, as we were conducting another Action for Adolescents Sports festival here at Nyachilenda Secondary School where participants from the two zones were involved, learners who participated in re-lay race were the ones who dropped out of schools. They have been readmitted because of the love of the sporting activities,"Malunga explained.
He revealed that since the initiative has proved to be positive in reducing the dropout rate, it will be scaled up to a third education zone in the district.
"Let me reveal that we are adding another zone so that it can benefit from the initiative. We are targeting at least five primary schools in the new zone," he said.
Reuben Malembanji, Nyachilenda Secondary School head teacher who presided over the Action for Adolescents Sports festival on behalf of Primary Education Advisor said there is really tangible achievement regarding dropout rate which has been brought about by the initiative in the two zones.
He noted that more primary school pupils have developed more interest of going to school so that they can have a chance of participating in different sporting activities which was not there in the past.
Malembanji commended Nsanje district council and UNICEF for the initiative as more pupils are going back to school.