Chief Kathumba of the Chewa people in Katete district has applauded government’s decision to reduce school fees starting next term.

Last week, government announced that pupils in rural schools will be paying K150 per term, while those in urban area will be paying K200 and that boarding fees should be charged at K1,200 or less, including user fees and stationery.

In an interview, the traditional leader said high school fees were a hindrance that blocked a lot of vulnerable children from accessing education..

“Our children here in rural areas most of them were stranded as they could not go to school due to the high school fees, which was demanded. You might be aware that here we don’t have piecework where people can work to raise money to pay school fees as you might find one parent has even two or three children, and for them to raise the funds for every child, it was such a challenge,” chief Kathumba said.

He explained that education was key in enabling young people in rural areas to contribute their visions towards the country’s development.

“Education is the key of every vision. In here in rural areas, people are able to have visions when they are educated. Such steps are quite good, and it’s nice that government should be able to realise that,” he observed.

“No one should have an uneducated child at home. The NGOs and us chiefs won’t allow that. The fees are now accessible even for us here in rural areas so they have to make sure children receive education if we are to enjoy the fruits of educating our children,” said chief Kathumba.

And chieftainess Nyanje of the Nsenga people in Sinda thanked government for lowering school fees, noting that the move would mitigate against social vices, such as early marriages.

“The decision is welcome, but we can’t rejoice now until next term when we see the new decision taking place. Truly, this step will reduce early marriages and other vices such as early marriages. And parents who are lazy to educate their children will have no excuse,” said chieftainess Nyanje.