St Ignatius of Loyola Catholic Boarding Secondary SchoolBackground
The School opened its doors on 18th September, 2017 under the propriatorship of the Diocese of Karonga. St Ignatius Secondary School is located in Nthalire, 118 kilometers south of the administrative town of Chitipa District Assembly. This is the tip northern district of Malawi.
St Ignatius, a grant-aided secondary school, was officially opened on Monday 30th October, 2017 by His Lordship, Martin Anwel Mtumbuka, Bishop of the Diocese of Karonga in co-operation with the German partners and Ministry of Education officials. The school was built by financial assistance from Umckaloabo Foundation, Nangu-Thina e.V., Episcopal Conference of Italy, Blinkwinkel Afrika e.V. and Johannes Beese Foundation. The school is a coeducation institution and has started with its first form one class of 53 boys and 54 girls all from within Chitipa District
Being a boarding school guided by Catholic educational principles, the school aims at the integral growth of young learners, shaping them into responsible and reliable citizens.
The motto is “With God’s Help”
With God’s Help” as a motto helps learners and members of staff to hope for a succeesful present and future. The school is a relief to young boys and girls within the remotest areas of Chitipa district to have access to quality education.
Currently, the school has only four members of teaching staff. George Chirambo as the Headteacher, deputised by Madalitso Denis Mbalazada. Other members of teaching staff are Michael Kita and Bertha Kaira. Some teachers posted to the school declined the offer because of its locality. The school is under the patronage of Father John Moyo, the parish priest of St Ignatius of Loyola Parish.
The School has six teachers’ houses, four classroom blocks, Computer, Physics/Chemistry and Biology laboratories, girls’ and boys’ hostels, kitchen and a the multi-purpose hall is on foundation is still under construction.
The school management has instilled discipline in leaners starting from the mode of communication which is English at all times. Proper dressing of boys and girls during and after classes is another disciplinary measure. Mass followed by counseling is done every Monday and Sunday. Study circles among students during free time is also emphasised so as to ensure that there is no time wasted. Other extra-curricular activities include: Sports, YCS, SCOM, entertainment, Debate and Quiz. Subjects offered are as follows: English Language and Literature, French, Chichewa, Mathematics, Biology, Physics, Chemistry, Agriculture, Social Studies, Geography, Bible Knowledge and History.
After some weeks of water problems, the Water Mission through the school proprietors drilled underground water from what was once a borehole. At the moment the whole campus has enough water throughout except when there is less solar energy.
Being a new school, there are a number of challenges encountered: The likelihood of dropping out of school is high as many learners come from very poor families which find it very difficult to find school fees. The school has no electricity except a borrowed generator that provides power only for studies from 6pm to 8pm. The generator is very expensive to run; it spends 20litres of petrol in six days. The few teachers present have difficulties to prepare for lessons during the night since there is no electricity and during the day they are too busy with teaching and administrative issues.
There are inadequate books for students to read. Each subject has one or two books for teachers to use. This means that students depend only on the class output from teachers without access to books. Science subjects like Physics/Chemistry and Biology have laboratory blocks but no laboratory equipment for hand-on experience. Learners are highly motivated by teachers and the school chaplain Father John Moyo with an aim of creating in them a spirit of academic competence and self-actualization.
The school in itself is trying hard to improve the situation on the ground.