Ntcheu district director of education, youth and sports Lucia Chidalengwa says primary school enrolment in the district has declined following ‘breaks’ due to Covid-19.
She said the district’s primary schools had 180 525 pupils before they were closed in March last year following the declaration of State of National Disaster in the wake of Covid-19.
“Currently, there are 78 790 boys and 83 689 girls totalling 162 479 learners,” said Chidalengwa.
She, however, observed that rural schools have lower than 80 percent of the expected enrolment.
Chidalengwa cited Chigodi and Tsangano as some of the most affected primary schools with shortfalls of 699 and 580 learners respectively.
She said the district will embark on back to school campaigns (policy which allows learners who had dropped out to return to school) through village development committees.
Tsangano Primary School head teacher Romano Chilango admitted the dropout in enrolment at his school.
He also attributed it to school-breaks induced by Covid-19 and the recent misinformation about Covid-19 vaccine.
Chilango said: “People thought the vaccine would be given to learners so they pulled their children out of school.
“Instead, there is a shift on mindset from education to economic activities as some boys have ventured into Irish potato business.”
He, however, has expressed hope that enrolment will increase after intensifying sensitisation campaigns.
One of the parents from the area, Maxwell Ndagwira, said there is need to sensitise people on the importance of education.
The Ministry of Education has closed schools twice due to the threat of Covid-19.