Malawi: Schools to Remain Closed - Minister

Mulanje — Minister of Education, Science and Technology William Susuwele Banda Thursday said that there was no chance that students in country would go back to school until schools are declared safe.

The remarks came after Civil Society Education Coalition (Csec) urged government to allow standard eight and form four students to return to school so that they sit for examinations as there was no imminent threat of Coronavirus.

Speaking at Mulanje Secondary School where there was a leadership and management training for Head teachers from Shire Highlands Education Division, specifically from Mulanje and Phalombe, the Minister said that the life and safety of teachers and learners are of outmost importance than education.

"We feel sorry for them that they are taking a different route. We will give them information, maybe they don't have adequate information as to why government is taking that decision. Schools will not be opened until we feel that teachers and students are safe.

"Their motivation is on examinations, we can bring students to school and take the exams while in school and catch the disease there. They will die. We will mark the examinations and give a certificate to a parent when a child has died, that's a mockery," he said.

The Minister urged secondary school head teachers to implement effective leadership and management skills if they are to deal with indiscipline in schools.

Banda said it is high time secondary school teachers start to earn their respect from learners for the efforts they put in by working day and night to provide conducive environments for learners so that they get their education.

He was displeased with the behaviour of some learners who take matters in their own hands by vandalizing school property and attack teachers when misunderstands arises.

"If you look at our history as Malawi, we just pick good teachers to become head teachers but leadership is not to know how to teach English, Mathematics or Biology. You need to have leadership and management skills.

"We want at the end of the day primary and secondary school teachers to be certified, they have to undergo a properly organized training so that head teachers are able to perform according to our expectations," Banda added.

According to the Minister, this would improve quality of education as schools would be managed well to avoid riots.

"We want improve the performance of students during national examination," he said.

Manager for Shire Highlands Education Division, Evelyn Mjima said the impact of the trainings would have on the head teachers saying it would improve the quality of education in her division.

"The training has come in timely in order to boost our performance. For us to do well as schools we need strong leadership. We need transformational leadership for the headmasters to lead the people they are leading and to see to it that performances are improving," she pointed out.

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