By Gloria Nazombe LILONGWE
Malawi (Xinhua) -- Jessie
Nthala, 15, works at Mandala tobacco farm in Mzimba
among many children toiling on tobacco farms in the
south African country.
a 2016 national survey, out of 5.6 million children in
Malawi, 1.2 million aged 5-17 are engaged in harmful and
hazardous child labor.
married at 12 and divorced a year later. Staying again
with my mother and my stepdad became tough then,” Nthala
said in an interview.
threw me out. I had to find means to support myself and
my baby. So I got myself a job in one of the tobacco
fields in my district.
efforts to curb child labor, especially in tobacco
fields, most farms are populated by children as young as
district, children are employed in the farms throughout
the tobacco-growing season.
Ngwira is a young farmer with a tobacco-growing family
background in Mzimba.
As a family,
they have a 16-year-old in their tobacco field.
defended the practice of employing children, saying it
is mainly driven by sympathy as some of the children
come from impoverished families.
example, we... have a kid who lost his parents and had
no place to call home, so we sympathized with him and
decided to take him in,” he said.
“It is not
true that employing children increases productivity.
Most of these children are not fit to do all the
necessary work that is required in a tobacco field,”
Ngwira said. “Unlike a maize field, a tobacco field is
too involving and it needs dedication, fitness and
farmer strives for quality to impress the buyer since
quality determines pricing and most of these children
don’t know much on tobacco in order to produce quality
leaves,” he said.
a whole field in their hands is very risky. Therefore,
saying that the children bring cheap labor to a farmer
is just a lie,” he added.
Eye for the
Child is a local organization looking into the welfare
of children and their rights, and Max Matewere is the
“At Eye for
a Child, we see to it that no child is abused in any
form,” Matewere said, urging “collective effort from the
child trafficking in Malawi carries a punishment of 21
years in jail or even life imprisonment in aggravated
therefore see to it that any offender is brought to book
and where necessary the child is taken care of with
proper protocol and measures observed,” Matewere said.
their welfare, all we need is information and we are
good to go,” he added.
Malawian delegation in
Namibia to learn teacher management
WINDHOEK Namibia (Xinhua) --
A delegation from the Malawi education
ministry is in Namibia to consult about best education
objective of the visit is to learn best practices from
Namibia that would be instrumental in the crafting of
Malawi’s harmonized teacher management strategy geared
towards improved education provision and service
delivery at schools, said Ellen Simango, head of
delegation and Deputy Director of Basic Education at the
Malawian Ministry of Education, Science and Technology.
Simango, Malawi faces various challenges and is
grappling with education provision, particularly teacher
management and recruitment, given that Malawi has no
coordinated and harmonized teacher management policies
primary phase in Malawi increased to 4.9 million and 3.8
million respectively after the implementation of free
education in 1994, from 1.3 million before 1994.
also put pressure of the demand for teachers, and thus
our learners/teacher ratio in urban areas stands at 78:1
in urban areas and 100: 1 in rural areas,” said Simango.
Economist, Evance Kazembe, who is also part of the
Malawian delegation, added that the policies and
regulations in place at the moment vary from place to
place, which is making it difficult to address the
various challenges the country faces, especially teacher
“It has been
a challenge to retain teachers especially in rural areas
and overall management of teachers as Malawi does not
have a harmonized policy in this regard.” Simango said.
acting Permanent Secretary in Namibia’s Ministry of
Education, Arts and Culture, said that the delegation
will also visit schools and key programs.