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Learn How Phalombe’s Dzenje Primary School Has Been Topping PSLCE For Six Consecutive Years

WE HAVE RE-PUBLISHED THIS ARTICLE PUBLISHED BY THE NATION ONLINE ON 26 AUGUST, 2019. This follows revelations that the school has done it again by sending 28 learners to national secondary schools, 22pupils to district secondary school and 45 to CDSS. 100% pass rate.

Assorted gifts for Dzenje teachers

Having sent 72 pupils to various secondary schools during 2018/2019 PSLCE, 35 teachers at Dzenje Primary School in Phalombe were handed a dozen of chickens by happy parents—and it was not for nothing.

The givers want everyone to know that they appreciate what the teachers in their midst have achieved in the examinations Malawi National Examination Board (Maneb) announced two weeks ago.

Maneb ranks Phalombe as the best performing district in the just released Primary School Leaving Certificate of Education (PSLCE) examinations.

What’s more, the thankful local communities presented the chickens, three loaves of bread, laundry soap, cooking oil and K52 000 to the school that has retained its top spot at district level.

Pupils once shunned the remote school in preference for those that had higher pass rates. Currently, it attracts children from the neighbouring districts of Chiradzulu, Mulanje, Zomba and Thyolo.

A collective effort

Head teacher Felix Ngalande thanks group village head (GVH) John for mobilising the gifts in recognition of the role teachers play in motivating pupils.

 “The gifts may not be much to the well-off, but this is a great encouragement to the teachers,” he says. “It shows that community members appreciate what we are doing and they want to be part of the success story.”

This is the second time the teachers picked up the crowing presents and some add-ons.

“All five Standard Eight teachers picked up a rooster each for their outstanding contribution. We sold the remaining seven and other gifts so that each teacher can receive something. We believe success is a collective effort, so every teacher received K1 700,” he explains.

GVH John’s aides went door to door, collecting the gifts so that the teachers do not celebrate empty-handed their starring role, with 13 pupils selected to national secondary schools, 20 to Phalombe Secondary School and 39 to the neighbouring Ngozi Community Day Secondary School (CDSS). Last year, 19 pupils went to national secondary school, 17 to the district secondary school  and 32 to the CDSS. 

The feat puts Dzenje top of the pack in the PSLCE best performing district, with a 98 percent pass rate.

Annual barometer

Recently, Maneb reported that out of 282 428 Standard Eight pupils who sat the national examination in May, 218 756 passed. This represents a 77.46 percent pass.

Minister of Education, Science and Technology William Susuwele Banda terms PSLCE “a barometer for gauging quality of teaching and learning in our primary schools”.

“That is to say, through these examination results,  the education system is able to identify its strengths and weaknesses,” he said.

However, the examinations not taken by 15 600 registered candidates constitutes rite of passage to secondary school.

The absenteeism rate rose from five percent to 5.4 percent since last year.

However, parents of 3 320 pupils at Dzenje are utterly convinced with the rising pass rates.

They put together the presents to salute all 35 teachers at the rural school as only five out of 155 failed.

GVH John states: “Every family contributed what they could manage as a symbol of gratitude. The teachers come from different parts of the country, but they work extremely hard so that our children get quality education.

“If you visit the school at 6am, you will find teaching and learning in session. We want to encourage them not to relent in educating our children. They have done us proud and we appreciate their enthusiasm. A good turn deserves another.”

The traditional leader paid a tribute to a good relationship between the teachers and locals, saying high community involvement in education affairs has put the school on the rise.

Everyday task

District education manager Hendrix Likeke is equally impressed.

He saluted “dedicated teachers and cooperative community members” for putting the school, which won the 2018 MBC Innovation Award, on the rungs to greater success.

He said: “When learners pass with flying colours, this is our normal task. Of course the success story is not new to us. For the past four years, Phalombe has been in the PSLCE top three. We were number one last year, number three in 2017 and number one in 2016.”

“Being the number one district places a huge district on us. Teachers and parents must always remember their number one role: to make children succeed in their studies. Teachers have to be dedicated like their colleagues at Dzenje, who work during awkward hours to excel. Interestingly, community participation in that area is very high.


Likeke is optimistic that the congratulatory offerings from parents will motivate teachers at the rural school in Traditional Authority Kaduya.

He said: “I’m sure the  teachers  will continue to work hard and feel at home because the community really acknowledges their tireless efforts to improve the quality of education learners are getting.”


And in 2017/2018 results, Dzenje sent 45 learners to district and national secondary schools across the country, while Nambiro registered 39 and Nazombe had 38.

Msaka and Makina presenting the award to Phalombe school

The development forced the Ministry of Education, Science and Technology to award the three primary schools for being number one at national level.

Speaking during the event organized by Oxfam Malawi, the then Minister of Education, Bright Msaka said government plans to improve primary school education by enhancing learners’ performance through such awards, among others.

He said considering that there were many challenges that primary education in the country was facing, it was amazing to note that some schools were doing their best in making Standard 8 learners pass with flying colours.

“This success is owed to all teachers in the schools, the District Education Manager’s office as well as s

Country Director for Oxfam, John Makina applauded the best performing schools for striving on adding numbers for girl students to be selected to district and national secondary.

“We are happy that while these schools are sending learners to good secondary schools, they are also performing well in terms of promoting gender balance through the removal of gender based violence from their schools,” he said.

In Phalombe, Oxfam has been implementing a gender and human rights based project aimed at creating a safe learning environment for girls by combating sexual abuses and all forms of gender based violence.

During the event, Oxfam gave a prestigious cup and certificates of recognition to the schools, while the ministry promised to donate 150 desks for Standard 8 learners at Dzenje Primary School while the two runners up were promised 100 desks each.

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