First First Lady warns parents against marrying off daughters

First Lady Gertrude Mutharika has strongly condemned the tendency of some parents who marry off their daughters at a tender age in a bid to end their poverty.

Mutharika said this on Tuesday during the official opening ceremony of Tillie and Bevlee community day secondary schools in Zomba.

The two secondary schools were built by Save the Children Malawi with funding from international donors.

Mutharika said it is sad to note that some parents are still forcing their children to marry, a development which affects girl’s education.

“Forcing these children into marriage it means denying them access to education which is a violation of their mandatory right as to education.

“The country which can register significant development if citizens are not educated,” Mutharika added.

The First Lady praised the organization for the project saying it will boost one of government’s priorities of providing quality education to all.

She therefore asked the communities to utilize the presence of the facilities.

In her remarks, Chief Executive Officer of Save the Children USA, Carolyn Miles said Malawi has made little progress in developing and expanding infrastructure to meet the increasing demand for secondary education.

Miles pointed out that this has led to overcrowded classrooms, poor facilities and long distances to school.

She said learners especially girls are at greater risk of either not making the transition into secondary or of not completing the full cycle should they enroll.

“For example, in the 2015/16 school year, transition rate to secondary school in Zomba rural for boys stood at 53% while only 37% of girls who sat for standard 8 examination were able to get spaces in secondary schools.”

The two newly constructed schools comprise two classroom blocks of two classrooms each, a laboratory, a library, an administration block and a head teacher’s house.

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