Authorities cry foul over primary school improvement grants

Primary School Improvement Grant (SIG) which government allocates every year to primary schools for development projects has been decreasing yearly despite the increase in enrollment ratio, it has been established.

This was revealed on Thursday during a media tour organized by Malawi Economic Justice Network (MEJN) in some primary schools in Phalombe district, which was aimed at appreciating the performance of SIG and how it is being handled.

One of the criteria which the government use when allocating the grants to various primary schools is the enrollment ratio whereby highly populated schools receives more funds.

According to the records accessed through the school’s authorities, it has been discovered that the allocation of Primary School Improvement Grants to the school has been decreased every year despite the increase in the enrollment ratio.

In his remarks, MEJN Southern Regional Manager Mike Mervin Banda highlighted the importance of the initiative but he bemoaned the decrease of the allocation of funds.

Banda said: “It’s a worrisome development because one of the criteria used to disburse the funds is by considering the enrollment ratio but unfortunately as we experience high number of learners in most schools, the funds are decreasing a development which hinders the good course of the initiative.”

He said apart from considering the enrollment ratio when allocating the funds, authorities should also consider the distance covered by some schools to buy materials used for their planned activities saying some schools are allocated far from the dealers and are hard to reach a development which cost them a lot for transportation.

Head teacher for Nyezerera primary school, Victor Matchado said the school, which opened its doors in 1902, is currently relying much on the funds to carry out its development and the decrease in money being allocated to the school is jeopardizing the school’s development plans.

According to the records at Nyezereara primary school, during the 2018-19 financial year the school received K1, 039,388 which is less as compared to the previous allocation which was K1, 063, 940.

Apart from rolling the project in Phalombe district, MEJN is also doing the similar intervention in Karonga district.

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