World Vision International (WVI) has warned that increased cases of primary school learners who cannot read or write may negatively impact national development.
The problem is prevalent in Traditional Authority (T/A) Kachindamoto, Dedza District, where district education authorities say 92 out of every 100 learners do not understand what they are writing or reading whereas only eight percent have knowledge on the same.
WVI and World Food Programme (WFP) have since pumped K6 million in a one-year Literacy Promotion Programme (LPP) pilot project in the district.
Technical Coordinator for Dedza and Salima, Thandeka Nkhonde, said Dedza and 12 other districts have been earmarked as beneficiaries of the project.
“Dedza is one of the districts that are struggling when it comes to literacy levels Most learners in the district, and in particular Traditional Authority Kachindamoto, struggle with reading skills, letter knowledge, alphabetical principles, phonemic awareness, reading fluency, vocabulary and reading comprehension. The project will, therefore, help the children to catch up, knowledge-wise,” said Nkhonde.
In T/A Kachindamoto, the programme targets three education zones of Mankhambula, Kapiri and Chikololorele—which have 18 primary schools and an enrolment of 1,591 boys and 5,555 girls.
He also said the project would, among other things, establish 54 reading camp centres at each school,while 54 camp facilitators and volunteers will be trained in camp supervision and material creation.
Dedza Primary School Officer, Sorry Mwale, has welcomed the initiative.
“For a long time, Dedza has been performing badly but we hope that, with such interventions, things would change,” Mwale said.