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Board Members during their meeting
St Mauritius Secondary Set for Second Enrollment of Form I – Board

By Lino Nyirenda

The Board of Governors of St Mauritius Secondary School, meeting on 4th September, 2023, has confirmed that the School is set to receive the second cohort of Form I.

Board Members during their meeting
Board Members during their meeting

The school opened its doors to education on 10th October, 2022 with 100 Form I students. Selection to the school is done by both government (65%) and the Diocese of Karonga (35%). This means this year the school will have an enrollment of 200 students. The school which is under the proprietorship of the Diocese of Karonga is a Government Assisted school.

Speaking after touring the school, the Board Chairperson, Mr. Kaunda Gondwe said he has been satisfied with the readiness of the second hostel which has already been furnished with beds and mattresses and a second classroom block furnished with desks. Both the hostel and Classroom have a capacity of 100 students.

With financial support from the Diocese, the School’s Headteacher, Mr. Madalitso Mbalazada, reported that the school had already procured boarding requirements and teaching and learning resources. With great satisfaction he said that the school was set to commence the academic year on Monday, 11th September, 2023.

The office of the Education Division Manager (North) committed to send additional teachers to beef up the level of qualified staff, which is currently at 6. Departments of Sciences and Humanities are the most understaffed.

The Board mandated the School Management to include additional qualified assistant teachers on the school’s budget and also identify rentable accommodation for the new staff to be deployed by the Education Office.

The school continues to enjoy support from the Diocese, Ministry of Education and the surrounding community. “Certa bonum certamen”. We will continue to “fight a good fight”.

Pictorial Focus

Board members touring the school
Board members touring the school
New classroom with desks
New classroom with desks
New Hostel with beds
New Hostel with beds
Part of the newly constructed infrastructure at the school
Part of the newly constructed infrastructure at the school
One of the participants receiving her certificate
Karonga Diocese-Teveta Grooms 142 Youth in Vocational Skills

By Norbert Tambalamtuwa Mzembe

142 youth from violent prone areas in Karonga, Rumphi and Chitipa districts have been awarded certificates for successfully completing a six months course in the fields of Carpentry and Joinery, Brick Laying and Tailoring, Fashion and Designing.

Caritas Secretary, Mwawi Shaba says Karonga Diocese through the Bishop Martin Mtumbuka planned to reach out to many youths who would have been left out by the formal vocational training programmes.

“A greater part of the country’s population is occupied by the youth who have nothing to do hence they opt for violent acts particularly in Karonga. This initiative, therefore, was also meant to groom the youth to become reliable citizens of this nation,” Shaba said.

He further acknowledged the sister of  Archdiocese of Bamberg and Archdiocese of Freiburg in Germany for their support towards the training of about 142 youths who have received certificates out of 150 that were enrolled. They were drawn from Chiweta, Mwenilondo, Mpata, Pusi-Chakwera and Mwanjawala communities.

He pleaded with the TEVETA Executive Director to organize a further training for the graduates to have skills in entrepreneurship so that they are able to sustain themselves through the sale of their products.

Speaking on behalf of the graduating students Phillip Mwangolera commended the initiative by the diocese to train them to become good and self-reliant citizens through the skills they have acquired.

“I was one of the most trouble makers in Mwenilondo who could accept bribes from organisers of violent acts to incite violence, but now I have something to fend for myself and relatives. My plea to the Diocese and TEVETA is that this should not be a once off initiative,” said Mwangolera.  

However, the District Youth officer for Karonga who represented the District Commissioner, Lapken Liwago stressed on National Youth Policy which stipulates that young people must be empowered economically. He hailed the Diocese and TEVETA for adding value to the policy.

TEVETA Executive Director, Wilson Nkhoma said he is pleased to have partnered with the Diocese to train the youth in various vocational skills. Above all, he commended the trainers for tirelessly training the youth through competent-based skills, who were also trained further to become competent trainers.

“As TEVETA, we believe that the youth can employ themselves through vocational skills and become self-reliant if they can put their heart and effort on such skill without actually advertising themselves but through quality products,” said Nkhoma.

Speaking on behalf of the Bishop of the Karonga Diocese, the guest of honor during the graduation event, Father Cyprian Ngoma of Kasantha Parish said unemployment rate is high leading to moral decadence among the youth. He said the Church believes that the graduates will now become instruments of peace in the society.

Father Ngoma added that the Diocese has only given them an eye opener by giving them certificates but the journey to achieve their goal still remains in their hands.

Moses Nyondo captured at one of the construction sites
Community Based Vocational Skills Project Begins to Bear Fruits Among Trainees: The Case of Moses Nyondo of Chakwela Village T/A Kilupula in Karonga.

By Elijah Banda

Moses Nyondo is a third born son in the family of Mr & Mrs Clifton Nyondo of Chakwela Village T/A Kilupula in Karonga District. He has 5 siblings, all ladies. His father died in 2013, when he was only 18 years old.

His mother, now 45, depends on cultivation of cassava and rice as a source of income to support the family. However, with dwindling production, due to climate change effects such as flooding and dry spells, she has not been able to produce enough to raise enough money for the household to adequately meet the needs of her children including school requirements.

When asked during the monitoring exercise for the vocation skills project under Karonga Diocese’s Education Desk, for which Moses Nyondo is a beneficiary of Brick laying, he had this to say.

“I was forced to drop out of school because my mum could not afford to support us in school. At the same time, she needed support in the garden for us to produce enough food for the family.”

“Being the eldest child in a 7-member family, I took up the responsibility of my father. His responsibility was big on my shoulders and it often required me to be active hence I was with mum in the garden and searching for piece works in other people’s fields to supplement our income,” said Moses.

Moses, with a sad face told the monitoring team that despite all his efforts to see that his siblings have enough food and basic needs at home, the family was still experiencing food shortages. He calculated that their average monthly income through agricultural piece works was not more than MK 15,000 per month.

The story of Moses Nyondo started giving hope when he narrated that in March 2019, he was informed by the Village head that Karonga Diocese through the Education Desk would institute a community based vocational skills programme in the area targeting school dropouts, widows, orphaned kids and child headed families. He did not hesitate but immediately wrote an application letter to be enrolled for brick laying and he was picked and finished his training in July 2019.

Soon after training, Moses and his 3 other friends from brick laying trade formed a group and started looking for piece works in construction in the area and their efforts were not in vain.

“We formed a group of 3 and we work together on construction projects within the community. We have been given contracts to build houses, churches, tombstones, house repair works, house flooring and plastering. Every month, each member of the team gets an average of MK 45,000,” said Moses.  

The family of Moses has a happy story now as they supplement the MK15,000 they were getting from agriculture with MK45,000 from brick laying skills acquired through the project.

According to Moses, the family is now able to provide school requirements for his sisters and food in the house. He aims to go further with his brick laying skills by enrolling with Miracle Technical Institute in the years to come and later establish a construction company.

Moses thanked Karonga Diocese for the project which he described as transformational but asked the project team to further lobby for startup tools for the trainees as many struggle to pick themselves up from the ground based on their family background.

Head Teachers and Deputy Head Teachers of Catholic Secondary Schools in the Diocese of Karonga
Association of Catholic Head Teachers Hold Their First Meeting of the Academic Year

By Madalitso Mbalazada

The Association of Catholic Head Teachers (HAC) of the Diocese of Karonga held their first meeting of the 2019/20 school session on 18th of October, 2019 at Fulirwa Community Day Secondary School in Karonga.

The association, which is comprised of head teachers and their deputies from all Catholic secondary schools in the Diocese, meets every term to discuss issues affecting their institutions. All the eight Catholic schools attended the meeting which is always graced by the Catholic Education Desk Officer, Mr Remmie Kamanga.

One of the issues discussed during the meeting is the preparations for the impending visit of counterparts from Njombe Diocese in Tanzania. Njombe Diocese and its education department is much older and well established.

The two dioceses are partners and would like to learn from each other especially in the education sector. The thirty visitors from Njombe Diocese are expected to arrive in Karonga within the early days of November and interact with the team of Catholic head teachers, visit schools and share issues of interest in education or running of Catholic schools.

The meeting also had time to evaluate last year’s mock examinations and made plans for the 2020 mock examinations for both junior and senior levels.

Issues of Child Protection Policy, school internal audits, school supervision/ inspection and in service training (inset) for Catholic secondary schools were discussed at length for the benefit of administrators and learners.

The Catholic Head teachers Association has been in existence since the creation of the Diocese of Karonga and it is a branch of the Education Desk which falls under the Caritas Commission. The association organizes workshops on catholic education policy, leadership and management to facilitate the better running of Catholic schools.

The association believes in what is articulated in the Catholic Education Policy Handbook that; “All people of whatever race, condition or age, by virtue of their dignity as human persons, have an inalienable right to education. … true education is directed towards the formation of the human person in view of his/her final end and the good of that society to which he/she belongs and in the duties of which he/she will, as an adult, have a share,” (Gravissimum Educationis G.E. para. 1). 

The above statement motivates and gives a sense of purpose and divine duty to the administrators so that they administer Catholic schools and have a holistic approach to education.

One of the start performers receiving his award
Kaseye Girls Secondary School Honours Teachers and Support Staff

By Chimwemwe Chisi

Teachers and the support staff at Kaseye Girls Secondary School have been given a pat on their backs by the institution’s Board of Governors during award presentation ceremony held last week in Chitipa District to acknowledge their hard work.

This follows the release of 2019 Malawi School Certificate of Education Examination results which has seen the school registering 99.8% pass rate, calling for the honour of teachers and support staff for their gallant effort injected on the institution to yield standard results.

The function was graced by the representative of the Board, representative of Primary Education Advisor (PEA) and other stakeholders for the school.

Commenting on the matter, one of the teachers, Thokozani Mphande, an English teacher, applauded the initiative made by the Board; saying, its one way of encouraging teachers to work extra hard in delivering to the students for best results.

“I am happy and pleased with this initiative, since its one way of motivating us to work extra hard by instilling hard working spirit in every teacher so that next time they receive more after producing many distinctions,” said Mphande.

Kaseye Girls is among the best performing schools in the just released MSCE results. The awards came in two categories of all Form 4 teachers with best results in particular subjects and staff members, respectively.

The initiative is expected to trigger drastic delivery of education services at the institution as it has been deemed as a great source of motivation.

Taking her part, the Headmistress for Kaseye Girls Secondary School Sister Clementine Phiri applauded the teachers and the support staff for the job well done, saying their efforts are not lightly perceived.

“I am glad today to be part of this get together because we all worked to get such points and I believe we will produce 100% pass rate this academic year,” says Sister Phiri.  

She discouraged teachers from being complacent, but to continue working hard for excellent results and thus outshine other schools. “Today we celebrate our victory that we have achieved good results, but then we should not relax because we have Chaminade Boys Secondary School which also performs better, let us work harder and maintain our excellence,” she articulated.

Monsignor Chitete with Tailoring Students at their Pavilion
Monsignor Chitete Impressed with Community Based Vocational Skills Project

By Solomon Manda

The Vicar General of the Diocese of Karonga Monsignor Denis Chitete has expressed satisfaction with the progress of the Community Based Vocational Skills Project being implemented by the Education Desk in fie communities in the Diocese.

The Vicar General could not hide his joy when he visited the project sites to appreciate the reception of the project by the beneficiaries and how they are applying themselves in the same. The project aims at reducing levels of unemployment among the youth who in turn will be advocates of peace in their communities.

Interacting with the youths during the monitoring session, Monsignor Chitete was impressed with the responses from the youth which showed that they have understood the goal and objectives of the project.

“I am happy to hear this from you. It shows that you really understand why the Diocese of Karonga brought this project to you,” he remarked at one of the centers.

He further commended them for taking such opportunity seriously.

“The Diocese of Karonga desires mindset change among the youths. They should desist from being used by influential people to perpetrate violence for people to live in peace and harmony. This is exactly what we have witnessed today,” he explained.

The beneficiaries hailed the Archdioceses of Bumberg and Archdiocese of Freiburg for their financial support. They also thanked the Diocese of Karonga for giving them the opportunity on the ground as the project has changed their lives economically and way of thinking.

Carpentry Students at Mwanjabala Centre
Vocation Skills Project Changing Lives of Young People

By Chimwemwe Chisi

Young people benefitting from the vocational skills development project under the Education Desk have commended the programme for transforming their lives.

This has been revealed during the monitoring visits to the project implementation sites of Mwenelondo, Mpata, Mwanjabala, Pusi in Karonga and Chiweta in Rumphi by the Education Desk Officer, Mr Remmie Kamanga.

Speaking at Mwenilondo, president for the youth, Philip Mwangolera said since they started learning, their lives have changed for the better as the training have kept them from indulging in violence and other malpractices. He said their areas are enjoying a greater deal of peace and calm as the youth are kept busy.

“The assurance that we will have something to do to earn a living is enough to keep us away from violent behavior. Since the commencement of the project, we have acquired various skills.” said Mwangolera.

On the other hand, the president for the trainers Lewis Malema said that the project is giving positive results on the ground and the youths are eager to learn.

“There is some life adjustment from the youths since we began and they are catching up so well which is encouraging us trainers to work hard,” explained the president.

It has since been revealed that there is more commitment and cooperation among the trainers and the trainees.

Commenting on the progress of the project, Mr Kamanga said the dedication of the youth to the training is very impressive as witnessed by the mastery of skills manifested in the things they are able to do.

Kamanga attributed the success of the project to the collaboration of various stakeholders who were drawn into the project as well as the commitment of the beneficiaries of the project who are taking the training as a springboard to push them towards self-reliance.

“Our project is progressing well since we used a better approach where we involved TEVETA (Technical Entrepreneurial and Vocational Education Authority) who guided on how to implement this project. The interface we had with the parties proved to be helpful to the group since we prepared them psychologically before the actual training,” said Kamanga.

The vocational skills project was hatched as one way of responding to violent conflicts in the selected areas perpetrated by young people also because of unemployment.

Early grade learners in quiz competition
Education Desk Monitors English Speaking Project at Mubanga

By Lonely Paul Mwandira (Methodology Advisor St Michael’s)

Sunday school children in early grades under St. Michael’s Parish now have an opportunity to improve their English speaking skills, thanks to the re-launched “Promotion of English Speaking Skills among Sunday School Children” project.

Early grade learners in quiz competition
Early grade learners in quiz competition

Mubanga Primary School is one of the beneficiaries of the project which is being funded by the Coppels family.

The project seeks to improve English proficiency in early grade learners so that they do not face difficulties in their academic work as well as in conversation.

The parish has been conducting these activities in preparation for the competition which will be done at Deanery level and later at Diocesan level.

Diocesan Education Desk Officer Mr. Remmie Kamanga paid a monitoring visit to the school to ascertain the progress being made. During the ceremony, learners showcased mastery in English through debates, poem recitals and biblical verses recitals among other activities.

Tuntufye FM's Chimwemwe Chisi recording material for Let's Speak English Programme
Tuntufye FM’s Chimwemwe Chisi recording material for Let’s Speak English Programme

Mr Kamanga appreciated the courage which early grade learners at Mubanga showed during the exhibitions. Speaking after the activities at Mubanga, Mr. Kamanga said that it was seen that the activities would create an opportunity for children to practice reading and speaking English which would result into mastery of the language.

“If our young boys and girls do master the English language they will also easily understand academic work in class in later classes, hence, excel in their education” said Kamanga.

Since education is offered to our children in English language, inability to speak English among many Malawians leads to poor academic performance.

Also present during the ceremony was Catechetical production officer, Mr Ignatius Mvula and Methodology Advisor, Mr Lonely Paul Mwandira.

The project has also incorporated the Headmaster of Mubanga Mr Mwenyechanya, two primary school teachers Mr Ephraim Kapanje and Mr Timothy Mukisi who will work hand in hand with Sunday school instructors and the zone Catechist.

Charles Zimba handover the cheque to GVH Kyeghama and the Head teacher of Katili Primary School
Friend in Need: Katili Primary School Receives a Timely Donation

By Chimwemwe Chisi

Learners and teachers at Katili Primary School under the Diocese of Karonga will have improved facilities following the cash donation of MK 1.5 million from Sempha Construction Company which will go towards the renovation of classroom blocks and building girls’ toilets among others.

Charles Zimba signs a cheque flanked by Dr Matthews Mtumbuka and his wife
Charles Zimba signs a cheque flanked by Dr Matthews Mtumbuka and his wife

Speaking during the donation presentation ceremony at Katili Primary School, the proprietor of Sempha Construction Company, Charles Zimba expressed belief that the donation will go a long way in improving the condition of some buildings at the school as one way of improving the standards of education in Karonga District.

“I and my wife established a charity fund with which we provide financial assistance to institutions and areas which are facing difficulties. We do this every year,” said Zimba.

Speaking on behalf of the Katili Community, Group Village Headman Kyeghama thanked the Zimba Family for considering the school in his area.

“I am very pleased with this particular donation. We never expected it. This is a great lesson to all of us that it is possible to help one another from the limited resources we have,”said Kyeghama.

The Vicar General of the Diocese of Karonga Monsignor Denis Chitete graced the function also because Katili Primary School is under the proprietorship of the Diocese of Karonga.

“We are happy as a diocese for this donation which will really assist the school and the diocese in the education sector. I am so grateful to the Zimba Family for the help.”

Monsignor Chitete further appealed to the government and the corporate world to take part in developing the schools in the rural areas to achieve quality education in the country.

Bishop Martin Mtumbuka making a presentation during the conference
The Association of Catholic Teachers of the Diocese of Karonga Conduct the 2018 Annual General Conference

By Phillip Chisi and Remmie Kamanga

The Education Desk of the Diocese of Karonga organized the 2018 Annual General Conference of the Association of Catholic teachers. The conference gathered over 100 teachers from all the nine parishes of the Diocese of Karonga.

According to the Diocesan Education Desk Officer, Mr. Remmie Kamanga, the conference aimed at animating teachers to deepen their faith and grow professionally.

Bishop Martin Mtumbuka making a presentation during the conference
Bishop Martin Mtumbuka making a presentation during the conference

“Teachers are gathered to share their experiences and help one another spiritually and professionally. In the conference there are also presentations on pertinent topics from various facilitators”. He said.

During the conference teachers were taken through a range of topics such as; Articles of Catholic Faith, A teacher as an Agent of Evangelization, A Christian approach to issues of Satanism, Child Protection Policy, the role of Catholic teachers in the peaceful tripartite elections and Coping with addictions.

Some of the facilitators during the gathering included the Bishop of the Diocese of Karonga Right Rev. Martin Anwel Mtumbuka, the Vicar General Monsignor Denis Chitete, Pastoral Secretary Fr. Joseph Sikwese, Fr. Bernard Silungwe, the Caritas Secretary Mr. Mwawi Shaba, and the Health Desk Officer Mr. Vincent Shaba.

During the gathering, teachers also shared teaching experiences including best practices in the teaching profession to achieve excellence.

In appreciation to the commitment of teachers in their work in Catholic schools, Bishop Mtumbuka presented awards to head teachers of best performing Catholic primary schools in the 2017-2018 Primary School Leaving Certificate examinations.

The Bishop presented modern mountain bicycles to successful head teachers of the following schools; Mubanga and Kawale primary schools from St Michael’s Parish, Namatubi and Chipwela primary schools from St John Paul II Parish.

He further donated assorted books to all Catholic schools in the Diocese and five assorted books to each of the teachers present during the conference.

This is the third annual teachers’ conference to be held in the Diocese of Karonga since the first one which took place in December, 2016.