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Csec, Parliament call for learners’ safety

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Civil Society Education Coalition (Csec) and Parliamentary Committee on Education have said the accident that resulted in the death of four primary school learners in Zomba on Wednesday last week could have been avoided if the government was playing its rightful role in the provision of education services.

Speaking after inspecting Nantchengwa Primary School, where a community-built classroom wall fell on Standard Three learners, killing four and injuring 53 others, Csec Executive Director Benedicto Kondowe said education is not a question of being in class but creating a conducive environment for learners.

Kondowe said on Sunday that it is very clear that the school did not have adequate classrooms for the 930 learners and parents were forced to create a structure that could not have been erected if resources provided in the national budget were used for the intended purpose.

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“For the last eight years, our education budget has had a provision for the construction of additional classrooms. One wonders whether these resources were, indeed, used for the intended purpose. We are very concerned and we are touched by this tragedy.

“I don’t think it is right for us to come to this school after such a tragedy has happened. It could be memorable if we were coming to celebrate the good things about this school and we hope that we have learnt the hard way and that, moving forward, we should be able to do things differently,” Kondowe said.

Chairperson for the Parliamentary Committee on Education, Science and Technology, Elias Chakwera, said the committee is embarrassed by the development.

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“It is something that we, as a nation, can avoid. When you look at the structure that has caused this incident, it was temporary and substandard. It is very sad that we have left everything in the hands of community members,” Chakwera said.

Nantchengwa School Head teacher, Blazio Liviele, said he expects some difficult times to convince some children to come back to schools as they might be psychologically affected by the tragic events that led to their friends’ deaths.

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