Mchinji District Education Division senior inspector of schools Jilly Mkwaila has urged school authorities to allow learners who have not paid project fees to attend classes.
The inspector made the remarks on Thursday at a meeting organised by the Evangelical Association of Malawi (EAM) through its citizen participation and policy engagement project.
Responding to a question from concerned citizens on why some schools bar learners from attending classes, she described the situation as unfortunate.
“I witnessed that during an inspection at Mtukwa School in Pinda Zone. We were told that the learners had failed to pay K500 contribution for end-of-term examinations,” Mkwaila said.
She said while the schools need the contribution for printing costs, they should not bar students that cannot raise the money.
“It should be noted that education in primary schools is free. But sometimes communities agree to voluntarily contribute towards certain projects.
“This should not affect the learners, they should not be sent back because of parents’ failure to contribute,” Mkwaila said.
The inspector of schools said after the first term, primary education advisors, inspectors and district education managers held a meeting where they agreed that schools should contribute School Improvement Grants (SIG) and Zonal Improvement Grants (ZIG) funds towards the printing of examinations.
Evangelical Association of Malawi (EAM) advocacy manager Alice Chiweza said through the Citizen Participation and Policy Engagement Project which started in November 2015 and will end this year, her organisation is holding duty-bearers accountable for issues affecting citizens.
“We want to enhance citizen participation and transparency and accountability at all levels be it at district, regional and national levels, considering that Malawi is a democratic nation,” she added.
The project is being implemented in Lilongwe, Ntcheu and Nkhotakota districts. n