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High pupil dropout rate hits Nsanje

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About 1,200 primary school learners in Nsanje have dropped out of school this year alone.

Nsanje District Education Manager Hendrix Likeke said recently the district had an enrollment of 91,200 learners last year but the number has dropped to 90,000 this academic year.

He described the development as unhealthy, blaming the situation on the current food crisis facing most households that has resulted in most school-going children going for piecework in search of food.

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“There are more factors that could be contributing to the current development in terms of dropouts in the primary schools.

“However, as an office, we are trying to do some research to ascertain the reasons behind the challenge and once we have more details, we will devise measures to address them,” he said.

In an effort to correct the trend, a women’s rights organisation in the district, Kuchene Women Forum, has embarked on a year-long ‘back to school campaign’ in which children of school-going ages that are found loitering about the streets, villages and markets are nabbed for counselling.

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The organisation’s Education Coordinator Mary Namalomba said they have engaged police officers and community police forum members in apprehending all children of school-going ages that are found loitering in the streets during school hours.

She said the children’s parents are also summoned for counselling which she hopes will help reverse the trend.

“As a forum, it is our wish that every school-going child should go to school. If the district is to develop, then these are the children who will do that. But if we leave them like that, then we will not have responsible citizens in future.

“Kuchene Women Forum will strive and ensure that the parents are sending their children to school and giving them the necessary support,” Namalomba said.

Only this week, Kuchene Women Forum nabbed 200 children who had skipped school.

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