Executive Director for Civil Society Education Coalition (CSEC), Bennedicto Kondowehas described the school block which led to the death of four learners at Nantchengwa Primary School in Zomba as substandard, not fit to accommodate learners.
Speaking when he visited Nantchengwa Primary School on Monday, Kondowe said the structure does not meet the minimum government standards of construction thereby not fit for learning which directly impacts negatively on the quality of education.
“As far as the preliminary assessment is concerned, this particular structure did not meet government minimum standards of construction,” observed Kondowe.
Kondowe said as a country there was need to learn from previous experience where two Mkomachi Primary School learners in Area 49 in Lilongwe were killed when ‘an improvised under tree classroom’ collapsed on them.
He, therefore, blamed the District Education Manager (DEM) for Zomba Rural for negligence, saying the DEM was supposed to ensure that there were quality structures suitable for learning, besides providing learning and teaching materials.
“One wonders what role the DEM for Zomba Rural plays because if indeed his office was able to inspect the school, he could not have certified the structure to be used as a classroom,” Kondowe argued.
He said CSEC is concerned with the DEM’s negligence which resulted into the tragedy which killed four innocent children, noting: “I feel that government through the DEM is not doing its rightful role.”
Kondowe also blamed the standard of houses accommodating teachers in various primary schools across the country, claiming that most of such houses were in a sorry state.
He said the tragedy could have been avoided if all stakeholders in the education sector had played their rightful roles.
Kondowe, therefore, asked government to take note of the situation and work towards avoiding a repeat of the same in the future.
“We are appealing to government to consider improving primary school structures through different approaches because such structures are available in many schools across the country,” he said.
Kondowe appealed to the Ministry of Finance to make serious cuts from money allocated to different programs to improve school infrastructure in a bid to reduce the situation of make-shift classrooms under trees.
“The country is currently having a deficit of 27, 000 classroom blocks which could be easily constructed if government makes cuts in the national budget in the next three years,” he emphasized