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Atem national finals in limbo

The Association of the Teaching of English in Malawi (Atem) national drama finals risk not being held as there is no sponsorship for the event.

Atem President Fanuel Mapira said on Tuesday that they were keeping their fingers crossed to get sponsorship to host the event.

“We have written proposals but nothing has come up . We were supposed to hold the national finals in May but, because we don’t have money yet and have not yet paid for the venue, we are hoping to hold it in early June,” Mapira said.

The Atem leader said with students preparing to write examinations, their last date to hold the national finals is June 10.

“June 10 is the last date and if we don’t find sponsorship now or by June 10 then we will not hold them this year. We are running short of time. But for now everything is in place, all the schools in the three regions are ready although we had problems in the Southern Region,” he said.

Meanwhile Mapira has announced that Chichiri Secondary School, which made it to the national finals in the Southern Region, has been replaced.

“Chichiri Secondary School will not go to the national finals and instead Blantyre Baptist Academy, which came fourth, will assume position three and automatically go to the finals,” he said.

Chichiri Secondary School was allowed to participate in the regional finals after they complained of unfair judgment during the divisional finals where they came fourth.

Atem rules stipulate that the top three schools during divisional finals make it to the regional finals.

After the complaint, Atem South chapter gave Chichiri Secondary School the go ahead to participate in the regional finals.

The school, which has in the past dominated the competition went on to claim position three.

This, however, did not go down well with some schools such as Blantyre Baptist Academy and Joyce Banda Foundation which complained and asked Atem South chapter to penalise Chichiri.

Blantyre Baptist Academy said had it been that Chichiri did not participate, having come fourth in the divisional finals, they would have got position three.

“Atem South had problems making a ruling before referring it to national [level]. But looking at the whole issue, which is straight forward, Chichiri Secondary came fourth and was not supposed to participate in the regional finals. So they will not participate in the national finals and instead Blantyre Baptist Academy will,” Mapira said.

Mapira said this has been communicated to Blantyre Baptist Academy and Chichiri Secondary School.

There were, however, reports that Chichiri Secondary School had asked Atem to refund funds they incurred in participating in the regional finals but Mapira said “everything has been sorted out.”

But Atem South chapter chairperson Smart Chikumbeni said Chichiri was told through its deputy head teacher and that they were yet to get a response.

“Chichiri has not been penalised as it was a collective mistake by all patrons of the schools involved but we can just say it has been substituted,” Chikumbeni said.

Mapira said if they get sponsorship, the schools which will battle in the national finals are Katoto, Luwinga and Chibavi secondary in the Northern Region, Tsabango, Sos and KIA Green Light Secondary schools in the Central Region with Providence Girls, Blantyre Baptist Academy and Jacaranda School of Orphans representing Southern Region.

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