Classes at Mayala Primary School in Ntchisi district have been temporarily suspended and teachers moved to nearby schools after a man, believed to be mentally ill, threatened to hack a teacher and a learner.
District Education Manager (DEM) for Ntchisi, Votie Mboweni, who confirmed about the development in an interview on Thursday, said learners have also been advised to remain at home.
He said the decision has been arrived at to ensure safety of both the teachers and the learners.
The man is said to have been terrorizing teachers, learners as well as community members surrounding the school which is located at Mwamulo Village in the area of Traditional Authority Malenga in the district.
“This man has on several occasions attacked the School Management Committee chairperson. Learners became angry one day and wanted to avenge but he escaped to hide in a certain house. The learners ended up torching the house where he was hiding,” said Mboweni.
He said the man has been terrorizing the area since 2012.
“This is a temporary arrangement to ensure safety of the teachers as well as learners and once the situation normalizes, the teachers will be redeployed to the school and classes will resume,” said Mboweni.
Ward Councilor for the area, James Mandolo, who is also chairperson for the Education Service Committee for Ntchisi District Council said community members managed to take the man, who is in his thirties, to the district hospital but he escaped and returned to his village.
He said people in the area are living in fear and traditional leaders have since been engaging the police to ensure safety of the people and property.
Ntchisi Police spokesperson, Gladson M’bumpha, confirmed that police were indeed handling the issue but said he did not have more details.
Coordinating Primary Education Advisor (CPEA) for Ntchisi, Hammex Malithano, said police and chiefs from villages surrounding the school had a meeting where they resolved that police and community policing members should continue providing security in the area.
The community was also asked to maintain the house which was torched as well as replace the bags of maize which were destroyed in the inferno.
The school has 780 learners and seven teachers.