Matandani School is a government primary school in a rural area of Malawi. It is about 19Km outside of the nearest main town of Zomba. The main way of getting to the village is by mini bus for 12km on a tarmac road and then by bicycle taxi for the final 7km along a dirt road. The school caters for Standard 1 up to 8 but struggles with huge numbers of children attending from when the Government made primary education free for all. With bulging numbers particularly down in Standard 1 + 2 with over 250 children in Standard 1 and over 230 in Standard 2. We have improved the number of classrooms from having only 8 classrooms to now having 10! We now have 16 qualified teachers and the principal. We have finished building a block of 2 classrooms which has split the class sizes of Standard 1 + 2 in half.
Most children start school at 6 years of age and there are 8 years to complete (STD 1 – 8). At the end of Standard 8, children take the ‘Primary School Leaving Certificate’ exam. Students have to pass this exam and get selected to go to secondary schools. Unlike in Ireland, where there are enough places for all students to go to secondary school, in Malawi, there are very few places. Therefore a student must score within the Top 10% in the region to be ‘Selected’ for one of those limited places.
The Meaning Behind the Crest: Matandani L.E.A. (Local Education Authority)
* The Zomba platau is one of the main focuses in the crest. this is based on the view from the school of this huge landmark in the area.
* The Mango tree is at the centre as Matandani has two huge mango trees at the centre of the school. It has very strong roots as anything that is big and strong must have good roots to grow. It also has some mangos as this symbolises the success that Matandani is achieving in getting students into secondary school.
* The Sun rising behind the Zomba platau is there to replicate the sun on the Malawi flag. It is rising to show that the school is getting better but it is not at full height int he sky until it is reaching its potential for all the children here in the area.