Wednesday June 6, 2018 will surely go into one of those sad chapters of the country’s history.
On this tragic day the standard 3B learners at Nantchengwa primary school in Sub Traditional Authority Ngwerero in Mayaka in Zomba district never thought their preference to learn behind a mud built classroom block could take their lives as narrated by Blazio Liviele a head teacher at the school.
“Actually, because of the chilly we have had 2 days ago, the children with their teacher agreed to have lessons behind the block while they bask themselves to the sun, unfortunately when the teacher went to collect some pieces of chalk from the office the wall of that sub-standard classroom collapsed on the 124 learners injuring 57 and 4 others died in the process,” he narrated.
Equally concerned, is a representative of the four bereaved families Lucious Namanya.
He said as parents, they prepared their children for school hoping they could return home in the afternoon only to receive disturbing and shocking news about the unexpected death of their children.
“This has left a great trauma in us, our wish by send the children to school was for them to acquire education and not to die in the course of learning,” he moaned.
Feeling for his loss, Sub-TA Ngwelero said the death of the standard 3 learners is as a resultant of a very failure by school authorities and government to construct standard classroom blocks.
The traditional leader said his question rests on why the classroom block was built using mud?
“Why do we have a classroom block at a government school built with mud? I understand huge sums of money from the School Improvement Program (SIP) were lost here, surely this is a man-made disaster,” echoed the traditional leader.
For the officials at the helm of the country’s education, this is an issue that needs investigations to dig to the bottom and established reasons that led to the construction of the sub-standard classroom block.
“We regret the death of our four precious lives- as a ministry we are going to institute a probe into all this, we give schools SIP in every academic year so we wonder why this block was constructed using mud, we hear it was a community contribution but as a ministry we have our own standards so why did they use mud when they have money under SIP? Minister of Education, Science and Technology Bright Msaka questioned.
Msaka’s view is in sharp contrast to what the head teacher at this school told us about SIP.
“Here we receive K 600. 000 each academic year against the proposed K 1.5 million and out of this only 40% is for Access and Equity learning which encompasses construction of school blocks and other structures.”
“The money we get is too title to raise a standard building, currently we have 930 learners against 7 classes which makes it hard for use,” he added
To echo the words from Lucious Namanya , why should the country at 54 years of self-rule have classroom blocks built with mud and also at a time when president Peter Mutharika is ambassador of education in Africa? This is surely food for fought.