Sep 24, 2017 Last Updated 10:33 AM, Sep 22, 2017
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PSLCE Pass Rate Drops

193,795 students have qualified for the award of a Primary School Leaving Certificate of Education (PSLCE).

This is according to the Malawi National Examinations Board (MANEB).

Out of 255,583 students who wrote the examination across the country, 193,795 thousand have passed, representing a 75.82 percent pass rate.

Last year, 255,087 students wrote the examinations with 197,222 awarded the PSLCE.

This represented a 77.32 percent pass rate.

However despite the notable drop in the pass rate, MANEB Spokesperson Simeon Maganga told Capital FM that it is not a cause for concern as the difference is still minimal.

Maganga also admitted that drop in the pass rate could be attributed to several factor but did not want to delve into them.

The examination board is advising the public to report any queries through the head teachers of their schools and not directly to them.

The Teacher-Pupil ratio in the country’s primary schools is expected to improve as the government is deploying over 9,000 by the end of August.

This comes as a lot of stakeholders in the education sector have been calling for an improvement on the number of teachers.

An official from the Ministry of Education has indicated that the teachers expected to be deployed are those from ODL 10 and IPTE 9 programs.

Ken Ndala, who is Secretary for the Ministry of Education confirmed that the new teachers will start working when schools reopen next month.

Ndala added that the ministry will also recruit 1,200 secondary school teachers and also those that are willing to work in public secondary schools as many shun working in remote areas across the country

The recruited teachers are currently in the phase of getting shortlisted and interviews.

According to the last World Bank Survey which was done in 2015, the teacher-pupil ratio in the country was at 70 pupils per single teacher.

Malawi recently hosted a two week women in Science camp, where girls were encouraged to pursue challenging fields, which are mostly dominated by men.

This year’s STEAM or science, technology, engineering, arts and design, and mathematics brought together 100 female students from Malawi, Rwanda, Uganda, Liberia, Tanzania, Zambia and the United State.

Most women from Malawi, and beyond, have had challenges in pursuing an education and career in Science, Technology and Mathematics fields.

It is believed that these areas of study or career choice are for men and they are indeed dominated by men.

Despite this, women have made significant contributions to science from the earliest times.

Historians with an interest in Gender and Science have shed light on the scientific endeavours and accomplishments of women, the barriers they faced, and the strategies implemented to have their work accepted.

The historical, critical and sociological study of these issues has become an academic discipline in its own right.

Notable women include Marie Curie who was one of the first women to win a Nobel Prize, in 1903, and was the first person to win a second Nobel, in 1911.

But Curie was not the first female scientist. Many other brilliant, dedicated and determined women have pursued science over the years.

Another noteworthy woman is Grace Hopper. She was commissioned into the U.S. Navy Reserve early in World War II, after leaving her position as a college professor.

She worked as a computer scientist, greatly advancing computer programming languages, which made the machines far more versatile.

She received many military and academic honors throughout her career and continued to consult for computing companies until her death at age 85. 

Over the years other women have also followed suit and tried their best to study science subjects.

Here in Malawi there are also some women that have taken up the challenge.

For instance, the first female Malawian pilots Captain Yolanda Kaunda, and Captain Lusekelo Mwenefumbo, have broken the status quo of male pilots in Malawi’s Aviation industry.

Another woman who is a role model for young girls is Address Malata, the Vice Chancellor for Malawi University of Science and Technology.

Recently Malawi hosted a two week women is Science Camp right here at MUST.

100 girls from Malawi, Rwanda, Uganda, Liberia, Tanzania, Zambia and the United States were trained by professionals from Science and Mathematics fields.

The 2017 WiSci Girls STEAM or science, technology, engineering, arts and design Camp, is a U.S. Department of State program with support from private sector partners.

Leland Melvin, a former NASA Astronaut and probably the first astronaut to ever visit Malawi, gave a talk to students in Blantyre and challenged girls to venture into these fields.

He believes most women are afraid to venture into Science, Technology and Mathematics fields

The astronaut however urges female students to believe in themselves and that through working hard they too can overcome many challenges.

Women rights activists believe that girls should be encouraged to venture in ‘male dominated’ fields of study at a young age, as opposed to when they are grown women.

The young girls that attended the camp said it was an amazing experience and they will take the skills they learned and use them in their innovations.

It is a fact that girls and women need to step out of their comfort zones and break social norms by participating in fields and industries that’s are normally occupied by men. 

Hopefully with more events like the WiSci STEAM camps we will see this happen with girls from a young age.

Rihanna's Clara Lionel Foundation  has teamed up with Ofo, a Beijing-based bike-share initiative, to help young girls in Malawi get to school.

"I'm so happy about the Clara Lionel Foundation's new partnership with ofo because it will help so many young people around the world receive a quality education, and also help the young girls of Malawi get to school safely, cutting down those very long walks they make to and from school all alone," Rihanna said in a statement. 

The “1 KM Action” partnership has already sent its first set of bikes to Malawi and it will also fund scholarships for these female students through Rihanna's Global Scholarship Program.

Although 4.6 million children attend primary school in Malawi, only 8 percent complete secondary school. More girls drop out than boys due to a number of issues, transportation being one of them.

"We are delighted to work with Rihanna and the Clara Lionel Foundation on this innovative initiative as we are keen to help improve education accessibility for students living in poverty," ofo founder and CEO Dai Wei said in Tuesday's press release. “We believe in unlocking every corner in the world with equal access to education as well as with our bike-sharing scheme."

Rihanna visited Malawi earlier this year with the Global Partnership for Education in order to speak with students, educators, and government officials about the best way to "build a better educational future for Malawians."

In a previously released video, Rihanna shared footage of her trip and spoke about the experience. "It's such a pity that they have to drop out, because they are so smart," she said. "Everybody's learning together and learning at the same pace, it seems. It's sad that has to end for some of them, because they could probably do so much if they had the resources to continue and complete."

Providing young girls with a way to get to school quickly and safely is definitely a step in the right direction.

Members of the public are being encouraged to be development minded in a bid to sustain development in respective areas.

The sentiments follow a donation of iron sheets and bags of cement to Livalo primary school in Malawi’s central region district of Ntcheu by a former student.

Mathias Chatuluka who used to be a student at the primary school has used money over MK200, 000 to purchase materials required for construction.

The materials are expected to be used in constructing the schools headmaster’s office block.

Speaking to Capital FM, Chatuluka pointed out that development cannot happen if citizens are not giving back to the community they belong to. 

He stressed that the citizenry should be in the forefront in developing their respective areas and not wait for donors.

"We are a change in development hence the need for us to be proactive in giving out to respective communities.

I am appealing to all bona-fide citizens of this village to come forward in developing the school and the area at large," explained Chatuluka.

Headmaster for the school hailed the donation stating will go a long way in address the current situation whereby the current block is small and dilapidated.

Dickson Kufankomwe then assured safety of the donated building materials stating will be used for intended purpose.

He therefore appealed for more support since the schools has also inadequate classroom blocks considering the huge number of learners enrolled at the school.

"At the moment we have over 1,200 learners enrolled at the school but the classroom blocks are not enough to accommodate them.

Therefore we ask people of goodwill to come a forth to help in address some of these challenges at the school, "He lamented.

Livalo primary school which has classes from standard 1 to 8 was established in 1967.

The school serves pupils from over 10 surrounding villages all under Senior chief Makwangwala in Ntcheu district. 

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