By Wezzie Gausi:
President Peter Mutharika Tuesday broke ground at Kawale Community Day Secondary School (CDSS) in Lilongwe for the Secondary Education Expansion for Development (Seed) programme.
Mutharika said it was his wish that every child attains secondary school education and that every community has a secondary school.
He said for the country to develop, it needs an educated generation.
“Today we are launching the Seed project, but our vision is beyond building only schools for learners. We also have the welfare of the teachers at heart because they are the ones who teach the learners.
“As most people are aware, we are already constructing teachers training colleges, and these teachers are meant to go [and teach] in these secondary schools thereby improving education system of this nation,” Mutharika said.
He said through the project, the government plans to construct 250 secondary schools that will increase access to secondary school education nationwide by 25 percent.
United States Ambassador to Malawi, Robert Scott, said through Seed, they will construct 96 new classrooms in 30 existing secondary schools in Lilongwe, Blantyre, Zomba, and Mzuzu.
Scott said they will also construct 200 new CDSSs in rural areas in every district in the country.
“The Seed programme is based on the compelling idea that improved access to secondary school [education] significantly improves education and key health outcomes, such as delayed sexual activity and reduced rates of HIV infection. For this reason, the Seed programme was designed to draw approximately 50 percent of its $90 million in United States government funding from the health sector. This is the first time the United States Government has approved this innovative approach,” Scott said.
He said too many students are unable to enroll in secondary schools due to limited space and many of those who enroll must travel more than 20 kilometres every day to attend school hence the initiative.
In Malawi, adolescent girls and young women face many daunting challenges. A girl is 50 times more likely to be married by the age of 18 than attend university. Thirty percent of girls give birth by their 18th birthday and violence against women is widespread with one in five females reportedly being sexually abused by the age of 18.