Project Officer for Kasungu Peter Jiya made the call at Chisemphere in Kasungu on Thursday during an orientation of primary school teachers and primary education advisors on the United Nations Joint Programme on Girls Education (JPGE) dubbed kankha maphunziro programme.
Jiya said learners, especially girls, opt to drop out of school due to the many challenges that they face both at school and in homes.
“Many pupils in rural areas drop out of school because they cannot cope with the many challenges that they encounter such as gender-based violence. Equally, they also face problems in schools as some teachers do not know how they can properly handle learners.
“This orientation is a response to that gap. We want to train teachers and patrons on how they can create a conducive environment for learners so that they work hard and achieve their goals,” he said.
Apart from teachers, Story Workshop is also training school governance structures and Area Development Committees on the rights of learners and learner handling approaches that would encourage pupils to remain in school.
Primary Education Advisor for Mkanda Zone Catherine Lodzeni said the training will not only help improve learner retention in schools but also pass rates in national examinations.
Said Lodzeni: “Story Workshop has challenged us to improve our results and that there will be prizes for high-performing schools. The ball is in our hands as school managers and teachers to see to it that our learners are protected and supported so that we get the best out of them.”
JPGE aims at improving access and quality education for girls and reducing poverty through improved quality education and basic life skills for in and out of school adolescents.
The programme also provides complementary basic education literacy support to out of school children who have potential to go back to school and a functional literacy arrangement for adolescents who cannot go back to school.
Due to incidences of hunger, general poverty, early marriages among other factors, school dropout rate in Malawi remains high resulting in low primary school completion rates.
According to Director of Education, Youth and Sports for Kasungu Dorothy Masudi, at least 500 teachers in the district have so far been trained in inclusive education and gender responsive pedagogy through the JPGE intervention.