After Lunzu Secondary School in Blantyre prematurely closed after some students are said to have been attacked by a strange illness elsewhere in Nsanje, lessons came to a standstill at Dinde Primary school on Wednesday after over 20 learners mysteriously lost consciousness.
a case of "mass hysteria"
Nsanje District Education Manager (DEM) Thomas Mbwembwe confirmed the development, saying the learners were referred to Nsanje District Hospital for medical attention.
Sources privy to the scene disclosed that the learners seemed to be frightened with something that other people could not see and later fainted.
The development sparked commotion at the school as community members were accusing some teachers of being behind the mysterious act [others believe its Satanism acts].
"The strange disease started as some learners were noted showing extraordinary signs. The learners were fainting and that caused commotion at the school. This did not go down well with teachers who resolved to down tools in protest to the claim," explained the source who did not want to be named.
Nsanje District Health Office Spokesperson, Stanley Chilumbu suspected that the affected learners are suffering from hysteria but he was quick to disclose that medics are to find scientific evidence to establish the course of the disease.
In a statement issued by the Nsanje DEM clarifying on the incident, has called off the night studies with immediate effect.
"What has triggered this is the 'night studies ' during which standard 8 learners were being kept at the school so that they should study and learn. It started with one case on the night of March 18, 2019. On the following day, the cases rose to eight," it stated adding that "This morning, the cases spread to all classes. The school has indicated 15 cases which were taken to hospital but other sources put the figure at 30. We have advised the school to stop the so called night studies immediately."
The DEM's statement further advised all heads through Primary Education Areas that boarding in Primary schools was outlawed and Ministry of Education Science Technology does not permit the practice.
It emphasized that no school should be keeping learners in the school at night in the name of self boarding.
"If the afternoon classes are conducted, please make sure that learners are released in good time so as to allow them to reach their homes safely. Our society is facing a lot of challenges some of which are targeting our children. Please let's share this communication with all our schools," the Nsanje DEM statement concluded.