Africa-Press – Malawi. A head teacher at Mbidi Primary School in Zomba, is using her personal resources to encourage learners to stay in school with the hope of improving Primary School Leaving Certificate of Education (PSLCE) exam results.
Mbidi primary school which was established by the Malawi government under the ministry of education in 1995, is in Zomba rural near Jali and it is under the Namiwawa Zone.
The full primary school which currently has 977 learners, is said to have been underperforming in previous Primary School Leaving Certificate of Education (PSLCE) examinations.
For instance, in the past five years, the year when the school managed to send a learner to a boarding school was only in 2020 when one learner was selected to Dedza Secondary School and another to Masongola Secondary School.
In 2021, Mbidi Primary School had 32 learners who sat for PSLCE exams out of which 30 passed and two failed, 14 were selected to CDSS, while in 2022, it had 44 learners and 38 passed, six failed, 19 were selected to CDSS.
This year, the school had 50 learners and 48 passed while two failed, and 28 were selected to CDSS a development which has raised eyebrows on the need for some improvements.
Mbidi Primary School Head Teacher Miss Stella M. Phiri who has been at the school since 2020, attributed the underperformance to among others teenage pregnancies and early marriages.
Phiri told this publication that lack of support in terms of scholastic items has also fuelled school dropout of male learners. To arrest the vice, Phiri is using her personal resources to keep learners at school and also to improve PSLCE exam results at Mbidi primary school.
On Friday 15th September, 2023, the school held its first ever graduation ceremony where all the 48 learners who passed the 2022/2023 PSLCE exams received their personal certificates.
Ms. Phiri the Head Teacher, at her own expense designed and individualised each certificate which was printed using the school uniform colour — light blue and on a hard board paper.
According to her, the ceremony which was witnessed by all learners at the school, teachers, parents and other community members, will encourage the new standard 8 learners and of course those in junior classes.
Phiri was very sure that the event will encourage learners to stay in school, work harder, strive to complete Standard 8 to obtain their own PSLCE certificates, and thereby improving results at the institution.
“It was on 15th September, 2023 where we held a graduation ceremony for standard 8 learners which was one way of appreciating them for being in school for eight years and completing their primary studies by writing MANEB exams.
“Not only that, but also 48 students passed, so as one way of motivating, inspiring them, we awarded them with certificates in presence of other learners, teachers and their parents. I used personal resources to do that,” said Phiri.
She further encouraged other schools to emulate the gesture saying it is for the betterment of the country towards improvement of education standards.
“Malawi education reform programme is also encouraging that schools should motivate learners to be in school. It’s my wish that all schools should emulate this to ease the government. As schools we can also do it,” she added.
Phiri is very optimistic that the development will see reduced numbers of school dropout and as the school eyes more selection of learners to various boarding schools.
The graduation ceremony is said to be first of its kind at Mbidi primary school and it is coming at a time when the Malawi Government stopped issuing certificates to successful PSLCE candidates.