THERE IS MORE TO THE RETANTION OF ONCE OUT OF SCHOOL GIRLS: case of Chinunkha CDSS mother group

Education is a basic requirement for human development and the right to education is a fundamental human right, without exception. It remains a fact that girls continue to comprise the majority of out- of- school children and women the majority of the world’s adult illiterates (MoEST readmission policy, 2017). In an effort to achieve gender parity in education, Malawi government was one of the first African countries to adopt the readmission policy in 1993. The policy allows teen mothers to return to school after giving birth. Studies have shown that over 40% of girls who re-enroll in school end up dropping out again (Girls primary and secondary education in Malawi: Sector review (Esthery Kunkwenzu et al. 2017). Chinunkha mother group suffered the same challenge in their effort to bring back dropout learners to school.

 “In 2018, our group was formed and we were trained by CRECCOM. One of our mandate was to ensure that dropout leaners were brough back to school. Not all the girls that were brought back to school remained in school. In 2018 out of 4 girls readmitted only two remained in school. It was to this effect that as a group we thought of coming up with strategies to retain readmitted girls.” Narrated the mother group chairperson Jenipher Kabaghe

Through the proceeds from their fund-raising activities, the group decided to provide bursaries to readmitted learners such as Kattie just to inspire them to remain in school. Kattie a form 2 student at Chinunkha was brought back to school after she dropped out due to pregnancy in 2019. Despite being a bright student, Kattie’s commitment to school went down drastically and when approached she revealed that she was considering dropping out of again since her parents were no longer providing the support that she needed at school. In order to ensure that Kattie remained in school, the mother group gave Kattie a bursary and pays her school fees and buys her other scholastic needs.

“Am well covered while at school. I no longer complain of basic needs. I intend to remain in school until I complete my education and proceed with my dream of becoming a nurse” narrated Kattie

The school head teacher for Chinunkha CDSS shared that Kattie is a bright student and he had hope that she would perform well during the national exams which she is expected to write in 2023.

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