30-Year-Old Primary School Still at Junior Level
Chigumukire Junior Primary School in Ntcheu district has existed for 30 years without graduating into a full primary school.
Two classes learn inside a dusty floored classroom, while the other three, use a community-improvised structure or under a tree, when the weather is conducive.
Grace Ntambo, the only female teacher out of five, says she travels about 15 kilometers from her rented house, as the school has two staff houses occupied by the headteacher and his deputy.
"The problems are just numerous here ranging from classroom shortage, inadequate staff houses and teachers.
“When it rains, some classes are disrupted because there are only two habitable classrooms, and sometimes because teachers like me, who travel about 15 kilometers from a rented home, failed to come," said Ntambo.
She says these challenges affect academic performance as well.
Ntambo adds: "From this school, learners have to endure long distances to Khomba full primary school, or Mcheza full primary in neighboring Balaka district, for the rest three classes we do not have here."
Christopher Kabango deputy head teacher for Mapondera full primary school, at a shorter distance within the same area, said lack of staff houses is a similar challenge that is also affecting academic performance.
Kabango said: "Teachers fail to plan for their work accordingly, due to long distances they travel, as we only have two habitable staff houses, all constructed by the community."
Sub traditional authority Mkutumula, in whose area all the two schools are, says the community has tried its part like moulding bricks, as well as building substandard houses and classrooms, but the problem still stands.
Parliamentarian for Ntcheu Bwanje South, Alexander Mwisho Chilikuntima, says is aware of the problem, which he says has tirelessly raised in the August house.
"The challenges are beyond the community development fund itself, and what we need now is an intervention from central government or other well-wishers," said Chilikuntima.