Written by Chinsinsi Cheketa
Education stakeholders in Nkhotakota district, have been challenged to scale up efforts in bailing out best performing but needy learners who are failing to attain their secondary and university education due to financial constraints.
Foundation for Community and Capacity Development (FOCCAD) Executive Director, Dan Nthara made the call Friday, during the 2023 Nkhotakota District Mock Examination Awards ceremony held at Nkhotakota Secondary School in the district.
He said it is disheartening to note that some learners have been relegated from national to Community Day Secondary Schools (CDSS) for failing to pay fees, while such students are awarded and celebrated at district level.
“It will not make sense that we are awarding and celebrating the learners at district level today, but once they pass their Malawi National Examinations fail to support them continue with studies due to financial challenges. We are not in a competition, but we are only complementing the government’s efforts towards ensuring that every child is educated,” said Nthara.
Nthara has since promised that FOCCAD will offer scholarships to 5 girls who are among 17 learners who performed well in the 2023 Nkhotakota District Mock Examination, besides awarding them with traveling bags and cash prizes worth K1.8 million.
“Last year, we only offered a scholarship to a girl who performed well out of 20 learners, but this time around, we’ve decided to support all the 5 girls with the hope that more girls in Nkhotakota go to secondary schools” added Nthara.
According to Nthara, FOCCAD, is currently offering scholastic materials to over 100 learners in both national and district secondary schools from Nkhotakota district alone, including school fees, and assisting special needs learners at Nkhotakota Local Education Authority (LEA) Primary School.
Meanwhile, Nkhotakota District Principal Education Officer (PEO), Willard Magunda is optimistic that the district will this year surpass the 2021/22 Primary School Leaving Certificate of Education (PSLCE) examinations results, where it was below 83 percent average score having attained 79 percent.
He said, “since we started awarding best performing learners, teachers, schools and education zones in the district’s mock examinations, the performance has improved, and we are sure that as a district we will exceed the previous record”.
In 2021, Nkhotakota District Education Committee established Nkhotakota District Mock Examination Awards to motivate learners and teachers as well as promote school culture and hygiene.
During this year’s ceremony, best performing learners, teachers, schools and education zones have been awarded with different prices, courtesy of Umunthu Plus, FOCCAD, Oxfam and Campaign for Female Education (CAMFED), just to list a few.