Headmaster at Katowo Community Day Secondary School (CDSS) in Rumphi, Macmillan Kamoza, says at least 19 girls have dropped out of the school in 2022/23 academic year.
He said that during the same academic year, only one boy dropped out of school, which is located in the area of senior chief Katumbi in the district.
In an interview on Monday, the head teacher said the long distance to school for some girls and limited boarding space force some girls to do self-boarding in places where the school authorities have little control.
“We have about 11 feeder schools from as far as Thanzima, Chisimuka and part of Zolekere. Some cover up to 14km and other girls opt for lodging outside the school campus as self-boarders.
“Some men turn these girls on self boarding into their concubines and some end up pregnant while others drop out due to long distance to school,” he said.
He further said while an initiative by First Lady Monica Chakwera to construct a hostel with support from Japanese Government has made a difference in providing accommodation, the number of girls is more than the available boarding space of about 100 girls.
The school currently has an enrollment of 575 students out of which 299 are girls.
The head teacher has since asked for more hostels to be constructed at the school in order to protect the girls.
Head girl at the school, Oliga Banda, added that some girls from poor families who cannot afford the school fees have dropped out and are now married.
Child protection worker in the area, Catherine Ng’ambi Namwai, also urged parents to watch their girl children in self boarding carefully and provide for their needs so that they do not fall prey to men who entice school girls with money.
In October 2022, the First Lady, through her Shaping Our Future Foundation, handed over an eighty bed hostel worth K95 million constructed with support from Japanese Government in order to keep more girls in school.
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