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Anti-quota movement queries school selection

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William Susuwele Band

Quota Must Fall Movement (QMFM), a group propagating for the abolition of quota system, has condemned the government’s second selection list of form one students into various secondary schools which was released on December 27 2019.

The movement said the selection is allegedly skewed towards benefitting students in the Southern Region, specifically Mulanje and Phalombe districts.

Addressing journalists in Mzuzu yesterday, the movement’s spokesperson, Reverend William Mumba, said no boy from the Northern Region has been selected to any of the three government national secondary schools and mission grant-aided schools.

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“The government has also shown that only 29 girls from the whole Northern Region were the only remaining girls who qualified to be selected into the national secondary schools against the 3,000-plus who qualified this time around. The government has also shown that Central Region had almost no learner who qualified,” he said.

During the first selection, Phalombe was ranked first, seconded by Mulanje then Zomba on third position with Mzuzu City and Nkhata-Bay ranked fourth and fifth positions, respectively.

“How come there are still more learners being selected from Phalombe and not the other districts. What criterion was used to reach this decision? Also Nkhata Bay’s performance is not reflected in the second selection,” Mumba said.

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The group further noted that after using proximity, economic and merit as parameters in the first selection, the Northern Region had sent the highest number of learners into secondary schools at 42.65 percent, followed by the Centre at 37.41 percent and the South at 35.61 percent.

However, actual numbers of learners selected was 16,024 from Northern Region, 31,681 from Central Region and 34,367 (Southern Region).

All these figures when tabulated against national total number of learners selected, the North had 19.52 percent, 38.60 percent (Centre) and 41.87 percent (South).

“When one analyses this anomaly, one can only conclude that the government has a hidden agenda which neither the Principal Secretary nor the Honorable Minister of Education can explain,” Mumba said.

But Ministry of Education, Science and Technology spokesperson, Lindiwe Chide, emphasized that they used merit during the selection and it would not be a surprise if Phalombe and Mulanje are dominant.

The movement has since warned of unspecified action if the government does not address the alleged glaring anomalies before the official opening of schools on January 6 2020.

A total of 17,831 students have been selected to various secondary schools.

According to a statement signed by the Minister of Education, William Susuwele Banda, out of the 17,831 students selected, 43.2 percent are girls and 56.8 percent are boys, representing 13 percent gender parity.

Out of the 17,831 learners, 125 have been selected to national secondary schools, 3105 conventional schools while 14,381 have been selected to community day secondary schools.

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