Students in Salima district say besides cultural practices such as kutomera contributing to girl dropout, teachers are also worsening the situation by having romantic relationships with their students.
They said this at Msalura Community Day Secondary School (CDSS) on Saturday during the Keeping Girls in School (KGIS) advocacy week.
The students alleged that in some instances, male teachers intimidate and force them into sexual relationships.
Priscilla Kasapha, who returned to school at Prachute Community Day Secondary School, said her parents forced her in marriage at 14 in exchange for K500 000.
School inspector Nyson Chisi said his office has taken a tough stand on teachers that are found misbehaving.
“We are no longer shielding anybody and if the teacher is found in the wrong, we discipline him. If he continues, we follow the standard procedure.
“Where the case is to do with a teacher impregnating a girl, the matter is taken to court and if convicted, he is fired right away,” he said.
Chisi insisted that misbehaving teachers are no longer transferred, but left at the same school to change.
“We monitor them for change and if they do not, further action is taken,” he said.
Chief nutrition and health officer in the Ministry of Education, Science and Technology, Albert Saka, thanked development partners that are supporting access to quality education.
“The ministry has put in place various tools to ensure that girls access quality education, such tools include the National Girl Education Strategy and the Readmission Policy,” he said.
KGIS is a programme aimed at addressing issues affecting girls education and is funded by Department for International Development (DfID) and coordinated by Save the Children.
It is being implemented by Lilongwe Diocese of the Catholic Church and Forum for African Women Educationists in Malawi (Fawema). n