As 2011 drew to a close, the education sector in Malawi introduced a new system dubbed, “Double Shifting” in Primary schools to ease the congestion problem of pupils and address the Teacher, Pupil ratio in schools. With the system, some pupils are told to attend classes in the afternoon for easy access to quality education.
Since its inception, the system has tremendously affected Muslims in the Eastern region of Malawi. Islamic religious schools (Madras)
operations, which are done in the afternoon have seen a disruption due to the “Double Shifting”.
A survey carried out by Malawi Muslims Official Website crew recently shows that most Madras in the districts of Zomba, Balaka, Machinga and Mangochi are heavily affected.
“When you carry out Madras inspection, pupils attendance is very low and classes start around 4 O’clock in the afternoon which is not
healthy to Madras operations,” observed Sheikh Mustafa Alli Abdul Rasheed, Senior supervisor for Madaris Qur’ania – Balaka Office.
interview with Al-Nidau Administrator, Sheikh Uthman Alli Mandowa in Zomba, highlighted how Madras performance has recently gone down attributing the “Double shifting” system as a major factor.
He said “this trend has become worrisome. Madras pupils now learn less than an hour per day.”
A visit to Matawale madras which is run by Namanolo Education Trust in the city of Zomba reveals that classes starts at 04:00 pm and are abandoned for ten minutes to pave way for Asr Salaat and ends at 05:00 pm.
Surprisingly, little is done to address the problem. It seems Islamic leaders doesn’t know what to do. It was only at the end of last year
when Zomba district Muslim Association of Malawi Chairman, Br. Konda made an effort to quiz the education authorities on the issue but up to now, no progress is on record.
Islamic organizations running Madras in Eastern region include, Al-Barakah Charity Trust, Al-Nidau Islamic Foundation, Munazzamat
Dawat- Islamia, Namanolo Education Trust, Muslim Association of Malawi, HAD, Al-Hudda and other individual sponsored madras.
Currently, it shows that these organizations haven’t banged up their heads to find solutions to this problem.
“The system has come to stay and it seems we are just folding our hands,” lamented Ahmad Hoza Nyakapembe, one of the madras teacher from Nsanje but based in Balaka.
Little by little, the Eastern region of Malawi watch arms akimbo as Islamic studies is being eroded by external forces.
Reporting by Patrick Hamza Mpumira in Zomba