Muslim Association of Malawi (MAM) has officially assumed ownership of Mtaya Junior Primary School in Mpata Village T/A Amidu in Balaka District. It has taken the Muslim mother body over 10 years to finally take ownership of the school after the community which is predominantly Muslim, opted to have it run by MAM owing to the large number of Muslim learners in the area.
At the official handover ceremony, Muslim Association of Malawi also handed over a newly constructed two-classroom block and a Mosque.
According to MAM’s Education Coordinator Sheikh Rad Kangomba, MAM decided to construct the block after noticing that there were no enough classrooms at the school.
“The school has classes from standard one to standard 6 with only four classrooms. This led to some of the classes being conducted outside – in an open ground which was very difficult for both learners and teachers during harsh weather conditions especially in the rainy season. This is why we thought of coming in to assist,” said Sheikh Kangomba.
Commenting on their takeover of ownership, Kangomba said it was pleasing that MAM has finally taken responsibility of the school as this would enhance improved standards at the school.
According to MAM’s Project Officer Sheikh Farook Jumah, the newly constructed classrooms will also be used for madrassah in the afternoon. He also revealed that plans are underway to finish another two-classroom block which was started by the community but failed to finish due to lack of resources.
Headmaster for the school, Mr. Tambuli Kalisinje was all smiles and excited at the development.
“Ever since this school was opened, people of the other religions have been asking the community to take over the ownership of the school as there was no sign that could prove MAM’s ownership. But the community has been refusing because 98% of the population here are Muslims. So, it is very important that MAM has come in. It’s a good development – more especially the mosque,” said Mr. Kalisinje.
The school has over 380 learners and Malawi Muslims Official Website’s Marshall Dyton can confirm that the school really faces numerous challenges such as lack of teachers’ houses, desks, office furniture among other things.
“The school is strategically located along the Mangochi road. It serves about six surrounding villages but the moment you step foot on the campus, you actually see that the school is floating in an ocean of challenges. There is only one teacher house (currently occupied by the Headmaster). The children are learning while sitting on the cracked floor, books are scattered with no shelves – even if you visit the so called teachers’ office, you will feel sorry, it’s so pathetic and worrisome that after 53 years of independence, we still have schools in such conditions in the country” Dyton reports.
“It is good that MAM has taken such an important step. But I can say, there are indeed many things that Muslims can do instead of depending only on MAM. The community has done their part, MAM is trying its best but as Muslims, we also need to do something to complement those efforts,” Malawi Muslims Official Website’s Dyton said from Balaka.
The primary school was constructed in 2002 by the community after observing that children in the area were traveling a long distance to go to the nearby schools. The community has always claimed and maintained that the school belonged to Muslim Association of Malawi even before the matter was brought to the knowledge of the Muslim umbrella body. Their wish has finally come to pass.