The Association for the Teaching of English in Malawi (Atem) 2020 drama finals have been cancelled.
In a letter dated November 8 2020 addressed to the finalists, which The Daily Times has seen, Atem attributes the calling off the of the event to a recent ban of extracurricular activities in schools by the government due to Covid-19 pandemic.
The finals were to be held in April 2020 but were postponed due to Covid-19 pandemic.
“Our sponsors had not released the sponsorship by then. After schools reopening, government issued a statement banning all extracurricular activities in schools until further notice which had put us into deeper quagmire. It is against this background that Atem has painfully decided to cancel 2020 finals,” the letter reads in part.
Atem president, Dave Mpaso, confirmed the development Wednesday.
“We appreciate the effort schools put in and the resources they pumped in this competition. On behalf of Atem national leadership, we urge schools to join the next competition when Covid-19 pandemic ceases,” Mpaso said.
Atem has been facing a myriad of hiccups in hosting the event in past two years.
Secondary schools that made it to the national finale include Nkhata Bay, St John Bosco and Katoto from the Northern Region, St Patrick’s, St Monica and St Paul Minor Seminary from the Southern Region and Mlodza, Zipatso Academy and Likuni Boys from the Central Region.
Mpaso maintained that the drama contest will be back next year.
“We are yet to decide how to reward the schools that made it into the finals for their efforts,” he said.
Atem has helped unearth drama talent using through the competition amid funding woes.
Meanwhile, Mpaso has said the winners of the poetry competition which was launched recently will be announced end this month.
“We closed receiving entries and the entries are being scrutinised now. We received close to 500 entries,” he said.