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‘MSCE pass rate reflects poor government policies’

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A gender activist has said the poor pass rate for female candidates in the just-released 2015 Malawi School Certificate of Education (MSCE) results reflects how ugly government policies are towards the promotion of a girl child education.

Out of 61,582 female candidates that sat for the examination, 30,010 qualified for the award of the MSCE, representing a 51.27 percent fail rate.

NGO Gender Coordination Network Chairperson, Emma Kaliya, said it is worrisome to see girls failing to concentrate on their studies because of cultural issues and poor implementation of government policy to support a girl child.

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“In schools where you have sanitary and hygiene facilities for girls, the pass rate is encouraging, and such policies need to be implemented in all schools if we are to increase the pass rate for girls in the country,” explained Kaliya.

She added that in some schools where there are no proper boarding facilities, girls spend more time trying to take care of themselves than studying.

“At the same time they become victims of sexual abuse. And that is a true reflection that we should be expecting with all the problems we are facing with girls,” she said.

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Kaliya said even those who commute from their homes, spend more time doing household chores.

Ministry of Education Science and Education spokesperson Manfred Ndovi attributed the poor performance of a girl child to lack of proper sanitary facilities in schools, long distances they travel to reach their respective schools and child abuse among others.

“As a solution to these challenges, government is building girl hostels across the country. We also have ‘keeping girls in school’ programme. This is aimed at motivating a girl child from not dropping from school and to concentrate on her education,” Ndovi said.

He said government also introduced ‘girl communication strategy’ aimed at giving a girl child an equal opportunity with the boy child and protect her from any abuse whether from school or homes.

This is happening at a time when the United Nations Children and Education Fund (Unicef) says Malawi is very far from achieving universal primary education because of rapid population growth and large numbers of girls dropping from school, among other reasons.

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