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Government set to rehabilitate schools affected by cyclones

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Benedicto Kondowe

The Ministry of Education says it has managed to source funding from German government and the World Bank to rehabilitate 476 schools in 22 education districts that were affected by cyclones Ana and Gombe earlier this year.

In April, the Ministry of Education disclosed that it needed over K2 billion to rehabilitate the schools.

Director of Basic Education in the ministry, Grace Milner, told Malawi News yesterday that processes are underway to commence maintenance of the schools.

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“Some of the schools will be rehabilitated with help from the German government while other schools will be rehabilitated with aid from the World Bank. We will also take part through budgetary allocation.

“I cannot say from the top of my head how much we will fund but some schools will be rehabilitated with funds from the budget. We are hopeful that the work will commence very soon.

“As for those schools to be rehabilitated by the German government, the work should be starting once everything is set. We are currently in the procurement phase of some materials so all factors being equal rehabilitation works should start in September latest November,” she said.

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Nthumba Primary School in Chikwawa which one of the most heavily damaged by floods caused by cyclone Ana is still in a dilapidated state despite next school calendar around the corner.

Head teacher of the school, Sophia Chisale Nthumba, said they are still waiting for the government to rehabilitate the structures but also fill the school’s library whose books were soaked in the floods.

“Classes were filled with water, mud and snakes. Most desks in classrooms were broken because of the waters, books in our library were submerged in water and we eventually lost all of them. Due to all this, it took time for the learners to come back to school and resume classes.

“And now as we approach next school year, we are hoping things will be done in good time so that lessons are not affected. We hope that they remember our learners,” she said.

Benedicto Kondowe, Executive Director for Civil Society Education Coalition (Csec), urged government to be proactive in dealing with such matters.

“We know for sure that we have places which, year in and year out, are affected by floods. We need a long-term plan. The Lower Shire is affected every year. It should not come as a surprise for places that we know are traditionally affected.

“There is need for provision in the budget to carter for such places and if we do that you will see that the costs that are needed to rehabilitate the schools will be reduced. However, if we wait for something to happen it will be difficult to renovate the schools,” he said.

In the 2022-23 national budget the education sector got a lion’s share at K462.24 representing 4.1 percent of GDP and 16.3 percent of the total budget followed by the agriculture sector with K447.66 billion and health at K283.57 billion.

The education budget comprises K78.9 billion for operations of public universities, K106.8 billion for operations of primary and secondary schools including teaching and learning materials, K12.0 billion for university student loans; and K3.7 billion for the Youth Internship programme.

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