‘Over K2 billion needed for cyclone-hit schools’
The Ministry of Education needs over K2 billion to construct and rehabilitate 476 schools in 22 education districts that have been affected by tropical storms Ana and Gombe.
Principal Secretary in the Ministry of Education Chikondano Mussa told Malawi News this week that while some schools were ready to reopen, others were used as camps and teaching and learning materials were destroyed by the storms.
She however said government is committed to ensuring that learning and teaching continues in safe and secure environment.
“Further to the above, the ministry will continue providing support to all the affected and other schools.
“Some schools were used as camps for Internally Displaced People (IDPs). In addition to that, teaching and learning Materials (LMs) were destroyed, textbooks were swamped, Classroom blocks, teacher houses, latrines, administration blocks, libraries, kitchens and feeding shelters were also flooded and suffered varying levels of damage,” she said.
In a follow up interview on Thursday, the ministry’s spokesperson Chikondi Chimala told Malawi News that the ministry needs over K2 billion for the construction and rehabilitation works.
“The assessment done for Cyclone Ana is over K2 billion. Of course, I do not have the exact figure but that is how much is needed for the ministry to recover from the cyclones,” he said.
However, Chimala could not explain whether the ministry will use money from the budgetary allocation.
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.
Education expert Benedicto Kondowe of Civil Society Education Coalition (Csec) condemned the government for its reactive approach in dealing with matters such as this.
“We know for sure that we have places where year in and year out, they are affected by floods. We need a long-term plan. The Shire Valley is affected every year. It should not come as a surprise for places that we know that they are traditionally affected.
“There is need for provision in the budget to cater 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. According to 2022-23 budget brief 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.