How Govt’s Primary School Double Shifting Program affects Muslim Students


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.

In an
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


  1. This shows that Muslims are dis organised and they don't know what they are supposed to be doing in this era of participative democracy.

    Why should there be a mother body that can not even try to bail out Muslims in situations like this.The muslims need to get an explation from MAM as to what it is doing because we know there an authority in the name of Education co-ordinator that can be making a follow up on these events.Unfortunatelly the office does not even know that it has that duty.

    By the way, there is a need to establish a board of governors at Zomba Islamic High School because the authority that overseas the affairs of the school is the same. So what they know is to connive with the leadership of the school in embezzling money at the expense of the genuine activities of the school.They are just busy criminalising the people who ask for their rights and demand for accountabiliy so that other authorities should really feel that there is a justification for their removal yet it is a move to cover their behaviour.I plead with MAM Chair to fairly investigate what is going on

  2. THis is pathetic indeed, there is more work to be done by MAM what is MAM doing about our Children who are forced to learn Bible knowledge studies i understand religious studies is more appropriate to suite children from christian or Moslem religion, why should our children be forced to sing christian songs. What is MAM doing about it,Our children are getting confused and mislead we urgently ask MAM to look into this problem.

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