Mulanje — District Education Manager (DEM) for Mulanje, Gossam Mafuta, has expressed satisfaction with the current efforts in ensuring gender equality in primary schools in the district.
Mafuta observed that efforts in ensuring that equal numbers of both girls and boys were enrolling in school satisfy efforts made on the right to education for children, describing the development as positive.
Speaking in an interview with Malawi News Agency on Friday, Mafuta emphasized the importance of gender parity in education, noting that it adds value to long term social - economic growth of the district and the country as a whole
"The enrolment figures show that we have slightly more girls in our schools than boys. We have a gender parity index (GPI) of 1.01 in primary school. This indicates that boys' and girls' enrolments are almost at par," Mafuta said.
Mafuta said this was a positive development because it meant that there would be more educated women than their male counterparts in future who would in turn be economically empowered to effectively contribute to decision making processes affecting their livelihood.
"In the past, the girl child has been denied education and this has led to challenges the country is facing at present, like the generation cycle of poverty, illiteracy and early marriages," he noted.
"This is so because gender inequality in education affects economic growth by lowering the average level of human per capital and this puts burden on the economy of the country," added Mafuta.
On this note, Mafuta expressed satisfaction with the current situation, which he said implies that parents are showing interest in getting their children, particularly girls, educated.
However, Mafuta bemoaned lack of parity in senior primary classes, observing that there is high girl child dropout rate whereby the number of boys surpasses that of girls.
"The GPI only looks good at enrolment and junior primary level from Standard 1 to 4 but more girls drop out in senior primary classes of Std 6 to 8," he lamented, attributing the decline to socio - cultural and traditional factors.
Mafuta, therefore, commended government and various partners in the education sector for considering investing heavily in the advancement of girl education.
He also thanked communities for complementing government efforts in improving education standards as an instrument for development, appealing for more efforts in ensuring gender parity at secondary and tertiary levels.