By Mayamiko Majawa (Kulinji.com Reporter)
Mbombwe CDSS cracks
Lives of over 300 students at Mbombwe Community Day Secondary School in Mangochi are at risk following the dire condition of their classroom blocks which are on the verge of collapse.
Mbombwe CDSS is located in Sub-Traditional Authority Chiunda near the district’s border with Machinga and it has 311 students, 180 of them girls, according to the school’s head teacher, Rogers Mpinganjira.
Kulinji reporter visited the area to appreciate the current state of the three school blocks, each with two classrooms.
The walls of classrooms and floors have wide and frightening cracks running in all directions, making the structures a death trap ready to collapse above the learners any time.
A crack inside one of the classrooms- photos by Mayamiko Majawa
The head teacher said in an interview that teaching and learning in the classrooms has become a risky business and that teachers and learners fear for their lives especially when it rains heavily or whenever there are strong winds.
“It is very scary because the walls and roofs shake whenever we have stormy rains. The cracks have become more pronounced now than before and we fear that one day the blocks will collapse and our prayer is that when it does, it should not be on our heads.” he explained
Mpinganjira said they reported the condition of the classroom blocks to the ministry through the office of the Education Division Manager (EDM) and towards the end of 2018 a team from the ministry’s building section came for inspection.
“They inspected the buildings and said they will do something about it: we are still waiting,” he said.
Councillor for the ward (Masanje), Charles Chilambo, echoed the fears raised by the head teacher saying they were keeping their fingers crossed.
Chilambo also concurred with Mpinganjira that the matter was reported to the EDM and that they were still waiting for action.
“These blocks are beyond maintenance: what is required is to have them demolished and have new structures constructed,” said the councilor.
According to Chilambo, the dilapidated school blocks were only constructed four years ago and many are attributing the buildings’ current condition to poor workmanship.
Cracks as seen outside the classroom
But when contacted the EDM for South East Education Division, Macauden Msakatiza, said he did not know anything about the said condition of Mbombwe CDSS and that he was hearing it from the reporter.
“I can’t remember receiving such report in my office and if the building section visited the school as it is claimed, it could be that the report went directly to them,” said Msakatiza.
He added: “The ministry’s spokesperson would be better placed to respond on this matter but now that I have known about this, I will visit the school in person to appreciate the condition.”
Ministry of Education, Science and Technology spokesperson, Lindiwe Chide, also said she was not aware of the matter and that she would have to find out.
Forty-eight candidates sat for the 2018/19 Malawi School Certificate Examinations (MSCE) and 18 candidates passed representing 37.5 percent pass rate, according to the head teacher