Mzimba Short of Specialist Teachers - MZIDEN
A recent survey conducted by Mzimba District Education Network - MZIDEN with support from Civil Society Education Coalition - CISEC finds that Mzimba District is short of specialist teachers, a development they allege is hampering the education of learners with disabilities in the district.
This came out in a dissemination meeting of the findings in Mzimba.
Mzimba DEN Chairperson Teckson Amadu said among others the district has 316 primary schools with resource centres. The district has 13 specialist teachers in 8 schools only.
In the 52 secondary schools in Mzimba south, only 3 schools have resource centres with 20 specialist teachers.
"We have a very big problem and this paints a gloomy future for children with various disabilities. Imagine 13 specialist teachers for 165,000 learners in 316 primary schools in Mzimba south, it’s really a challenge,” said Amadu.
Amadu said government should look into the issue of funding towards special needs education if things are to improve in the sector.
According to the survey, in the 2018/2019 fiscal year the district received 194,000 kwacha for special needs education while in the 2019/2020 budget only 204,000 kwacha was allocated towards the same.
"So you can see that resources allocated are not adequate in fact such amounts can only be used by the director of education just to buy fuel for moving around in the schools with little impact on special needs education,” said Amadu.
M’Mbelwa District Council Director of Education Youth and Sports Fides Msowoya has asked for more time to comment after she reads the report on the findings.
"Though the challenges being raised are a reflection of the situation in the whole country, I cannot comment right away because I have to thoroughly go through the whole report from the survey findings,” said Msowoya.
MZIDEN with financial support from Civil Society Education Coalition - CISEC has since rolled out a campaign aimed at lobbying for construction of resource centers in schools around the district that would carter for the education of learners with special needs.
While statistics at the district education office show that there are 490 special needs learners in Mzimba south, data from the MZIDEN survey shows that in the 20 surveyed schools there is a population of 700 learners who require special needs education.