Fight Against Quota System ‘Almost’ Over

By Salome Gangire

Government has announced that it has abolished the use of quota policy in selecting students to secondary schools following consultative meetings it had with Livingstonia Synod of Church of Central African Presbyterian (CCAP).

In a joint press statement signed by Principal Secretary for Education, Science and Technology Justin Saidi and General Secretary for CCAP Synod of Livingstonia, Rev Dr Levi Nyondo read at a press briefing at Mzuzu Hotel Tuesday, government and the Synod have agreed that students would be selected to national secondary schools on merit.

“National secondary school places shall be allocated on merit across the country regardless of proximity and economic cost. Selection to district boarding, district day and community day secondary schools shall remain to benefit students within the same districts,” the statement read.

In an exclusive interview, Saidi said the decision has been made following consultative meetings which the Ministry had holding with the synod to review the Form one selection policy.

He said selection to secondary school on merit would be effective from the 2019 second selection list which will be released next week.

“We dealt with an issue of selection to national secondary schools. You are aware that we only have 25 of them of which 4 are government and the rest are grant aided. Students’ selection to these secondary schools is always on merit and we are reconfirming with the synod that we will continue with that approach merit,” Saidi added.

The Principal Secretary said equitable access to education policy shall be applied for girls and the vulnerable groups of the society to access secondary school education as it is a common practice in all countries where school places are limited.

He said government is building 250 secondary schools to increase number of learners to access secondary education as currently, only 37 per cent of students who sit for Primary School Leaving Certificate of Education Examinations get selected to secondary schools.

 “To address this challenge, government will construct 250 secondary schools and we will soon also be launching the construction of 100 community day secondary schools across the country,” Saidi pointed out.

Rev Nyondo said as a church they are pleased with the agreement because as a Synod they have been fighting for the abolition of the quota system for so long.

“We are making history as this means that selection of learners to secondary schools will done on merit and we are thankful and happy about this,” he said.

Since the release of the 2018/19 Primary School Leaving Certificate of Education Examinations results, some quarters of the society faulted the results for favouring students from the central and southern regions and a pressure group called Quota Must Fall Movement was formed.-MANA