National coordinator of the Primary School Improvement Programme (PSIP), Ellen Simango, has said primary schools across the country will greatly improve in infrastructure development as well as pupils’ academic performance through the programme.
The programme started in 2006 as a project where schools were provided with a direct support of about US$200 to purchase basic teaching and learning materials.
Speaking on the sidelines of a media orientation about the programme, which will receive K4 billion this year, Simango said there have been a lot of success stories of the programme.
“Schools are improving since we rolled out the programme. Now schools can decide on their own on the kind of materials to purchase for the school and the type of projects that they need. They are able to do minor maintenances of classroom blocks, teachers’ houses and the construction of toilets.
“Schools are also able to employ teacher assistants in those hard-pressed institutions so as to address the high pupil-teacher ratio. Through the programme, schools are also able to support orphans and needy learners particularly girls to go back to school as they are being supported with uniform and other learning materials,” she said.
Schools that have less than 1,000 students receive a total amount of K600,000 annually and the amount increases based on the number of students enrolled at the school.
Despite the success stories, there are still a number of challenges that could affect the programme. One of the challenges is the conduct of some controlling officers in most local councils who use the PSIP resources for what they call “totally” unrelated activities at district level apart from late disbursement of finances to districts and schools.
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