By Patrick Ndawala:
Vice President, Saulos Chilima Wednesday said was disappointment with delays by a contractor, Nangaunozge in finishing construction works at Machinga Secondary School.
He ordered the contractor to finish construction of eight hostels and a kitchen at the school in the next two months.
“If you are not interested to finish the work please tell us so that we engage others, after two months, I will come to see progress,” Chilima said after moving around the school where other facilities had much to be desired in terms of pace and design.
Construction of Machinga Secondary School started on June 13, 2013 and was meant to be the only full boarding secondary school for both boys and girls in district over the years.
“We will give you the money remaining money once you finish constructing the hostels and the kitchen as per the contract agreement,” he added.
The Vice President noted that boys and girls hotels are closer to each others saying education policy does not encourage such arrangements and observed the design of the school kitchen to be unimpressive as it does not have dining area wondering where students would sit to take their meals.
He advised the Ministry of Education that if construction work remains unfinished for so long then “no more form one students should be select to the school next year,”
Chilima assured chiefs that government through Ministry of Local Government would complete the construction of chiefs house adding, “The fact that there is a new leadership does not mean projects which were initiated by the former regime will stop,”
The Vice President assured the chiefs that government was addressing issues surrounding the wearing of Hijab through the Ministry of Civic Education and National Unity
Machinga Secondary School Head Teacher, Micah Zingani said contraction work stopped a year ago forcing the school to experience numerous challenges.
“School is supposed to have six hostels for girls and six for boys but only two girls hostels are functional such that boys are being accommodated within girls hostel,” he said, adding that the school which has forms one to three are using improvised kitchen because construction of the schools kitchen is yet to be completed.
Zingani said the schools sanitation was compromised after the solar powered water pump was stolen such that the school use a small septic tank which requires frequent empting against 352 students out of which 177 are girls.
Ministry of Education Spokesperson, Chikodi Chimala said the construction work of the school started with phrase one which comprises of teaching area, staff houses, hostels kitchen and maize mill.
He added that the school started as a Day Secondary School but government later turn it to a boarding school because Machinga had no boarding secondary school.
The representatives of Nangaunozge Building Contractors refused an interview.
Paramount Chief Kawinga expressed hope that the visit would help speed up the slow pace of construction works at the school.
He commended government for directing the Ministry of Local Government to transfer back ownership of Mangochi Turn off Market from Balaka District Council to Machinga District Council.
The Paramount Chief expressed worry over the delay in finding the lasting to the wearing of Hijab.
Mpiri Primary School in Machinga was closed last year following disagreement between parents and the Mangochi Dioceses of the Roman Catholic over the Hijab issue which saw parents and guardian become violent over it.