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Government admits discrimination against girls

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Government has admitted of inequalities faced by girls in accessing education, nutrition, medical care and protection from discrimination in the country.

Minister of Education, Science and Technology Emmanuel Fabiano recently said the inequalities have prevented girls from participating as effectively as boys in national development.

Malawi’s education sector is facing various challenges including limited availability of learning materials and structures with many pupils, especially those in rural areas, learning under trees.

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This development has derailed efforts to keep as many children as possible in schools leading to high dropout rates, especially among girls.

And speaking during this year’s International Girls Education commemorations in Thyolo, Fabiano acknowledged that education is still more available for boys than girls despite various interventions.

“Even when education has been equally provided for, such barriers have prevented girls from participating as effectively as boys, a development that has led to poor learning achievement, repetition and eventual dropping out of school by girls,” he said.

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“This is why, as government, we developed a National Girls’ Education Strategy in 2013 to facilitate the pace at which Malawi, as a country, can achieve the Sustainable Development Goals Four and Five on quality education and gender equality,” he said.

Fabiano said poor learning infrastructure in most schools across the country is affecting such efforts to keep girls in school.

But he was quick to say time has come for communities and parents to take responsibility of their children’s educational needs.

“Malawians have always blamed low standards of education on government but what are parents doing? What are the community leaders doing to help government and their children attain quality education?” he said.

This year’s commemorations were organised by Creative Centre for Community Mobilisation (Creccom).

Creccom Vice-Board Chairperson Joseph Akimu bemoaned current low primary school completion rates among girls across the country.

“These challenges are a result of our social economic indicators as a country which are not that impressive,” he said.

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