By HELLEN TEMBO –
GOVERNMENT has ordered Mpulungu’s Muslim run Moonrise Boarding Secondary School to formalise its operations and use the recommended General Education school curriculum.
This was after Ministry of General Education Permanent Secretary Henry Tukombe undertook a fact finding mission at the school following information that the school was not registered and was not following the proper curriculum.
Mr Tukombe said Government officials would be visiting the school to make sure the directive was followed.
He said Government was concerned about the children that the school was keeping, some of them from as far as Eastern Province.
“We have been going around most private and public schools and our mandate as Ministry of General Education is to provide quality education in line with our curriculum,” Mr Tukombe said.
He said Moonrise Boarding School should adhere to the curriculum even though it was supporting underprivileged children from grade one to 12.
The school has been operating since 2004 and pupils wrote their examinations at different schools that were accredited to undertake examinations.
But Moonrise head teacher Ibrahim Mwanza in response said the facility was a charitable organisation which was offering both religious education and academics to vulnerable children.
Mr Mwanza said 90 per cent of the pupils at the school where Muslims although Christians were also enrolled.
He said in terms of education, the school drew the line when teaching religious education and other subjects in line with the curriculum.
Mr Mwanza said all teachers were trained and registered by the Teaching Council of Zambia.
Mr Mwanza said there were 776 pupils learning and benefiting from the school adding that there were 17 primary teachers and 26 secondary teachers.
Meanwhile, Mr Tukombe has implored public colleges to venture into activities like agriculture production, chicken rearing as part of fundraising so as not to entirely dependent on Government grants for their operations.
Mr Tukombe said activities such as fish farming, goat, pig and cattle rearing were viable businesses that could generate income for colleges and help them become self reliant.
He said this when he inspected Kasama College of Education in Northern Province.
“There is need for public colleges to start thinking outside the box and not just depend on Government grants because private schools are doing well because they ventured into agriculture,” Mr Tukombe said.
He said this could also work for secondary schools hence they should consider adopting the idea.
He said if private institutions like Malcolm Moffat College of Education could make it even public institution could do it.
Mr Tukombe also inspected St Mary’s College of Education and Mungwi Boarding Secondary School.
And Northern province education officer Humphrey Simutowe assured Mr Tukombe that secondary schools in the province would work towards realising the agriculture business idea.
Mr Simutowe said his office would encourage secondary schools to come on board and share ideas to work as a team.
Kasama College of Education principal Florence Massanzi said the school was using vulnerable students who have skills to work in the college as a way of paying school fees.
Dr Massanzi said the vulnerable students who had skills remained during school holidays working towards paying their school fees.
She said the school was so far doing well because from last year, they revamped the farms which were doing well.
Dr Massanzi said the directive from President Edgar Lungu of keeping schools, green, clean and health was not a challenge for the college because they had always kept the school clean.
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