The Civil Society Education Coalition (Csec) has faulted Malawi’s Ministry of Education, Science and Technology for the last-minute change in the second-term school holiday.
Csec says the late decision demonstrates “a sign of leadership challenge” at the ministry.
The ministry announced during the last week of the just-ended school term that the second term holiday has been reduced from four weeks to two weeks. According to an earlier calendar released by the ministry, all schools were supposed to close on March 22 and open on April 22 2013.
Speaking in an interview on Monday, Csec executive director Benedicto Kondowe said the development shows lack of leadership at the ministry.
“School calendar is a national thing and tampering with it has a lot of implications and cannot just be handled as any other issue. The ministry was supposed to take proper steps, consult with other bodies and communicate properly to the nation,” he said.
Kondowe said his office has consulted with all other bodies in education and none has indicated being consulted by government on the issue.
While confirming that his office was not consulted on the decision by government, Teachers Union of Malawi (TUM) president Chauluka Muwake described the development as a confusion to the nation.
In an earlier interview, Ministry of Education spokesperson Lindiwe Chide said her ministry arrived at the decision after noting that the holiday was too long.
When asked why the decision to trim the period of the holiday has come late, Chide said the ministry noted the error on the duration of the holiday sometime back and was just waiting to announce the fixed dates.
Chide said the other reason for the change was the pending national examinations for both primary and secondary schools which the Malawi National Examinations Board (Maneb) will start administering in May.
According to the change, all schools will open on April 8 2012 for the third term.