Nkhata Bay residents plan demonstrations over the K314 million (US$762 136) construction project that never materialsed at St. Augustine Community Day Secondary School (CDSS) in the district.
Mkumbira Area Development Committee (ADC) vice-chairperson Mabvuto Kaunda told The Nation on Friday that the demonstrations will also be used to petition government to expedite construction of the Mzuzu-Nkhata Bay Road as well as denounce “segregation against Northerners” in selection of Form One students to some secondary schools.
Said Kaunda: “We are demanding that government should construct the infrastructure at St. Augustine because funds were already released. It appears that the project is on paper and not on the ground.
“In addition, we want government to keep the promise on the Mzuzu-Nkhata Bay Road which has been promised several times.
“We are also concerned about the segregation of Northerners in the selection of Form One students at Nkhata Bay Secondary School. We feel that this is a deliberate move on the part of government in sidelining people from the North in education.”
Kaunda said the ADC will meet on October 10 to set dates for the demonstrations.
The planned demonstrations come just after a week stakeholders in the district released their findings to show that funds for the construction project at St. Augustine were released.
Information The Nation has gathered indicates that the project, called Support to Secondary Education (Education V) Project, was part of a $22.41 million (about K8.8 billion) grant from the African Development Fund (ADF) to the Malawi Government to upgrade 30 CDSSs, one in every district.
The whole project was worth $24.89 million (about K9.8 billion) with ADF providing 90 percent and government providing 10 percent of the total cost.
In the Northern Region, schools such as Kameme (Chitipa), Nyungwe (Karonga), Luwerezi (Mzimba) and Livingstonia (Rumphi) were upgraded under the same project except for St. Augustine (Nkhata Bay).
The ADF V Project which phased out in 2012 started in 2007 with the objective of improving quality and equity of secondary education, especially in CDSSs.
According to a 2006 appraisal report for the project The Nation has sourced, this objective was to be achieved through the development of infrastructure, provision of education materials, capacity building and policy development for secondary education.
Director of education planning in the Ministry of Education, Victor Lungu, told The Nation on Monday that 12 schools out of the budgeted 30 were left out although the project had a budget of about K9 billion, with K314 million for projects in each school. He did not explain why there was a deficit.
Mzuzu Catholic Diocese’s Catholic Commmission for Justice and Peace (CCJP) diocesan secretary Arnold Msimuko, whose organisation is implementing a governance project in the district, said funds for the project might have been misused.
He observed that facts on the ground indicate that funds were released.