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Kwacha fluctuation derails girls’ hostel projects

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Fluctuation of the Malawi kwacha against major foreign currencies is derailing construction of girls’ hostels in rural community day secondary schools (CDSSs).

Spokesperson in the Ministry of Education, Science and Technology, Manfred Ndovi, said this in an interview on Friday.

“We have been coding our contractors using prevailing prices of building materials. When the kwacha falls, prices of the building materials rise and contractors come back for more money to complete the projects, by that time, our budgets have been exhausted,” he said.

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The Malawi Growth and Development Strategy (MGDS 2) states the government should construct girls’ hostels in rural CDSSs, as a way of encouraging girls to continue with education.

MDGS 2 ended last June but Ndovi said the government will continue constructing hostels to enable more girls to attain education.

“Ministry of Education recognises that it is important to empower the girl child in Malawi by giving her education. So we will continue constructing girls hostels in more schools although the MGDS 2 ended,” he said.

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He said, so far, the government has constructed girls’ hostels in only 18 schools but has partnered with the Japanese International Cooperation Agency (Jica) to upgrade CDSSs into boarding schools for girls.

Education experts say long distances to school, is one of the factors that fuel the country’s high school dropout rate among girls, especially in rural areas.

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