Government says COVID-19 pandemic has negatively impacted the progress of construction of 250 secondary schools across the country.
Presenting a ministerial statement on the progress of Secondary Education Expansion for Development (SEED) Project in Parliament, Minister of Education, Agnes Nyalonje, said government has so far constructed 16 secondary schools in seven districts during the initial pilot phase.
Nyalonje said: “Taking into account an initial pilot project for the construction of 16 schools; five in Machinga, six in Balaka, one each in Dedza, Chiradzulu, Thyolo, Mulanje and Nsanje districts, this brings a number of schools in the SEED project to 242, from the initial 250 schools.”
According to Nyalonje, the K69 billion US government funded project is expected to be completed in 2023 with 250 secondary schools constructed in targeted areas across the country.
She said government will consider issues to do with distance as one of the criteria guiding the site selection process.
“The first four conditions to consider include a high prevalence of new HIV infections, distance, presence of secondary schools and the primary school passing rate,” said the Minister.
Nyalonje has since assured lawmakers that her Ministry will endeavor to maintain an objective, data-driven and transparent approach to the project, as agreed with the development partners USAID.
SEED project was launched in October, 2019 with the aim addressing a critical shortage of facilities, teachers, and seats needed to accommodate more than 20,000 female students who graduate from primary school each year, but are unable to continue to secondary due to lack of space.