While the number of students being selected into government secondary schools remains low, against the ever-increasing number of candidates sitting and passing Standard 8 examinations, the government has lost its slot at Zomba Catholic Secondary School (ZCSS), which has commenced its privatisation process.
In a communiqué from the Catholic Education Commission, which Reverend Brother Pascal Mtuwa has signed, the Episcopal Conference of Malawi National Education Secretary says the Catholic Diocese of Zomba has commenced the gradual process of transitioning the school with immediate effect.
“The diocese, which is the proprietor of the school, has arrived at this painful decision having duly consulted key stakeholders including the Ministry of Education. This transition is in line with the 2017-22 Strategic Plan of the Catholic Diocese of Zomba,” the communiqué reads.
ZCSS is one of the few remaining centres of excellence in terms of Malawi School Certificate of Education examination results, producing the best performer Arthur Chibondo, who got six points while Yamikani Watson scored seven points in 2019 examinations.
In a separate communication, Bishop George Tambala of Zomba Diocese of the Roman Catholic Church indicates that dates for entrance examinations would be announced soon.
He adds that the school would continue to accommodate students from all faiths.
Recently, the government also lost its slot at Henry Henderson Institute, popularly known as HHI, Secondary School in Blantyre after Blantyre Synod of the Church of Central African Presbyterian took the same route.
Ministry of Education spokesperson Chikondi Chimala concedes that, through such moves, the government has fewer openings to select students at the national level.
He, however, said the government would construct 34 top secondary schools to the level of Kamuzu Academy in each education district.
“You remember we had a fundraising event at Sanjika Palace where we already raised over K400 million for the programme. These secondary schools will be triple streams, which will increase access to top secondary education services and this is on top of the 250 secondary schools we are constructing with support from the United States government.
“You should also bear in mind that the schools have not stopped operating in the country. We have lost the chance to select students there but the school [ZCSS] will continue teaching Malawian children,” he said.
Quality education advocate Benedicto Kondowe said Malawians should be worried that their children no longer have a chance of going to a top secondary school like ZCSS through government selection.