This is despite government’s policy that primary education in public schools must be provided free of charge.
However, for the schools to administer printed end of the term examinations they demand a minimum fee of about MK1000 from student’s parents and guardians.
Most of them are unable to raise such an amount, this in turn results into their siblings being denied their right to be assessed contrary to the current primary education policy.
According to a report by a local Nongovernmental Organisation, Forum for Advocacy and Community Empowerment (FACE), some teachers together with school management committees take advantage of their positions to dupe learners into paying money.
For this reason, the Deputy Education Manager for Karonga, Popa Mkandawire has described such conducts as uncalled for and threatened to take unspecified action to deal with the masterminds of such a malpractice.
Mkandawire stated that it is very embarrassing that pupils are denied the right to education just because they were unable to pay up fees for class assessments.
“The school management committees must find their own proper mechanisms to make sure that they collect the said funds from parents. Children must not be the victims of their parent’s failure to comply with the demands of the school’s committee,” Mkandawire added.
Most of such challenges in primary schools emerge from poor co-operations and lack of transparency and accountability among the school heads of staff and Area Development Committees.
Concurring with Mkandawire, FACE Executive Director Yonamu Lemani Kaunda said although his organisation strives to improve quality of education by lobbying authorities and duty bearers to ensure that school funds are properly managed in the district, a lot has to be done to combat the vice.
“The most challenging phenomena that we are still facing as an organisation in our effort to achieve our objectives is the issue of favouritism where responsibilities and positions are shared among themselves based on their family relationships.”
“How do we expect transparency and accountability to prevail that way?’’ he asked.
Malawi’s education sector has been hit by numerous challenges which commentators blame government for not addressing earlier enough before things got worse.