The Employers Consultative Association of Malawi (Ecam) has said improving the learning environment in the country’s schools could help in the fight against child labour.
Ecam Project Officer, Emmanuel Magomero, was speaking in Blantyre on Thursday during a meeting his organisation organised with various firms to brief them on the ‘Adopt a School’ initiative.
Among other things, the initiative encourages firms to adopt a school in need and assist the government in the provision of basic needs.
Magomero said the large number of children out of school and engaged in various income generating activities both in farms as well as in cities is evident enough that child labour is rampant in the country.
“Education is a human right and a key factor in reducing poverty and child labour. In Malawi, education sector, the pace of infrastructure development, though supported by donors, has not been able to keep up with the pace of enrolment, resulting in crowded classes and with many classes being taken in the open.
“Procurement and distribution of teaching and learning materials has been affected by management inefficiencies, resulting in average pupil to textbook ratios as high as 6:1 in some subjects and standards,” said Magomero.
He said the adopt to school model is founded on the convention that no entity can independently manage this historical challenge of child labour and as such there is a need for multi faceted and multi-stakeholder approach to deal with the issue.
“The aim of the Adopt-A-School programme is to build links between businesses, students, teachers and the broader school community primarily through group mentoring.
“The Adopt-A-School programme will connect students with opportunities through experiential learning activities that will increase knowledge about training and preparation including soft skills and careers in a variety of industries,” said Magomero.
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