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Violence pushes 2,000 out of school

NEEDS REHABILITATION—Thyolo Secondary School was closed last month

NEEDS REHABILITATION—Thyolo Secondary School was closed last month

Over 2,000 learners are out of school as Ministry of Education, Science and Technology says it has not yet decided the dates on which to reopen four secondary schools that were closed recently due to students’ protests that resulted in damage of the respective schools’ property.

The ministry says is still ‘fixing other things’ hence it cannot give specific dates.

Blantyre Secondary School was closed on October 8 when students protested due to alleged illegal enrolment of students from other schools.

On October 17 this year, Thyolo Secondary School was closed after students protested over alleged mismanagement at the institution.

Later on October 29, learners at Lunzu Secondary School in Blantyre were sent home due to a fracas that erupted among students, leading to the damage of infrastructures at the school.

St. Michael’s Girls Secondary School in Mangochi District also closed indefinitely following a riot which learners staged over poor diet.

Head teacher for the school, Rose Chikhambi, said: “I cannot say much because I am currently grieving. I believe you can understand me because you cannot be talking if you could be in my shoes.”

When asked as to when the affected schools will be opened, Ministry of Education spokesperson, Lindiwe Chide, said St. Michaels will be opened in few weeks to come, but the the ministry is yet to decide on the other schools.

“For St. Michaels we are told that students can go back after three weeks, but for the other schools we are still waiting for other things to be fixed,” she said.

Commenting on the matter, education expert who works with African Institute for Development Policy, Steve Sharra, has urged the government to treat the matter with urgency saying it has a negative impact on students, mostly on form 4 students who are expected to sit their final secondary school examinations next year.

“The curriculum does not wait for the students; it is structured in a way that it must be covered in a specific number of weeks, so every day matters.

“Of course, for some students who broke the law there is no excuse, you break the law you must face the consequences. But there are innocent students, when school are closed, innocent students are also being penalised, that is where the problem lies,” Shara said.

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