Education in Malawi | Global Partnership for Education



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Rihanna, in her role as GPE Global Ambassador, visited Malawi on a trip organized by GPE and Global Citizen. She visited schools and met with teachers and educational officials to assess what more...
Rihanna visited Malawi with GPE and Global Citizen to see how she can help shape the future for millions of children by advocating for countries to fund education and meet the Global Partnership for...

Education in Malawi

Malawi joined the Global Partnership for Education in 2009 based on its 2008/09-2017/18 National Education Sector Plan(NESP).

The country's education system faces many challenges, including: inadequate school facilities, high dropout rates and pupil-teacher ratios, low completion rate and learning achievement for children in poor rural areas where HIV/AIDS prevalence is high.

The NESP outlines the country's strategy to achieve equitable access to education and improve the quality of learning, system governance and management.

The plan aims to:

  • expand early childhood education
  • improve the quality and relevance of basic education
  • promote technical and vocational training responding to labor market needs
  • support higher education and research.

Two implementation plans were developed by the government of Malawi to achieve the policy targets of the NESP. The more recent Education Sector Implementation Plan II (ESIP II) provides a roadmap for the objectives of the sector plan like its predecessor ESIP I.

The ESPI II has identified several key policy areas for focus in the coming years. The emphasis is on the need for enhanced focus on improving quality in primary education and increased access to secondary education in Malawi.

The ESIP II acknowledges that the system is not delivering the services as required and expected and underlines the fact that despite improvements in access, the biggest challenge for the country is unacceptably low level of academic performances and learning.

Over the last five years, the government of Malawi has shown continued commitment to the education sector with the allocation of over 18% of the national budget towards education.


All amounts are in US dollars.

Grant type Years Allocations Disbursements Grant agent
Program implementation 2016-2020 44,900,000 - IBRD
2010-2015 90,000,000 90,000,000 IBRD
Sector plan development 2013 250,000 0 IBRD
Program development 2015 319,114 313,569 IBRD
  TOTAL 135,469,114 90,313,569  


Source: World Bank - Education Data
Data on education are compiled by the United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) Institute for Statistics from official responses to surveys and from reports provided by education authorities in each country.


Primary Gross Enrollment Rate (%)

Primary Completion Rate (%)

Lower Secondary Completion Rate (%)

Out-of-school Children Rate (%)

Domestic Financing

Public Expenditure on Education as Share of GDP (%)

Public Expenditure on Education as a Share of Public Expenditure (%)

Public Expenditure on Primary as a Share of Total Education Expenditure (%)


Student/Teacher Ratio

Teachers Trained (%)

GPE in Malawi

Precious Majamanda, a 5th grade student at Muzu primary school, writes on the blackboard in Malawi. Credit: GPE/Govati Nyirenda

Malawi received a US$44.9 million for the period 2016-2020 to support the Malawi education sector improvement project (MESIP). The grant aims to: improve the equity and quality of primary education service delivery in early grade levels with an emphasis on improved accountability and functioning at the school level by:

  1. Improving equitable access for the most disadvantaged, especially girls
  2. Improving the retention and promotion rates at lower primary grades
  3. Improving the efficacy of interventions at the school, classroom and community level for better learning outcomes
  4. Removing barriers to girls' education for improved retention in upper primary grades.

For the variable part of the grant (30%), Malawi has selected the following indicators to be implemented in 8 of the most disadvantaged districts:

  • Reduction in pupil/qualified teacher ratio in Grades 1 and 2 to improve the learning environment
  • Increase in female to male teacher ratio in Grades 6 to 8 to promote retention of girls in school
  • Reduction in repetition rates.

The main components of the MESIP are:

  1. Performance-based school improvement grants for improving promotion and retention. The objective of the component is to pilot the feasibility of improving promotion rates through addressing the inefficiencies of repetition and dropout in the primary education system.
  2. Improving equity for the most disadvantaged, including girls. This component aims to help reduce primary completion rate ratios in eight of the most disadvantaged districts in Malawi. It will also support the construction of classrooms, latrine blocks, and water points. All new school facilities will be constructed to ensure proper access for children with disabilities.
  3. Improving learning outcomes, accountability, and cost- effectiveness at school level. This component will pilot cost-effective interventions targeting teachers and headmasters on how to improve classroom management in a resource constrained environment.
  4. Project management, and sector program support and coordination. This component will finance activities, consultants, and recurrent costs related to the project management and sector program facilitation.

Source: World Bank Project Appraisal Document. May 2010


The project supported by GPE and the four other partners has directly contributed to increasing access and equity, and to enhancing the quality of the teaching and learning environment in Malawi.

Key results of the first grant allocated by GPE and supported by other development partners include:

  • 2,936 classrooms and 14 boarding facilities were constructed or rehabilitated.
  • 70,052 students received bursary packages, with all beneficiaries still in school.
  • 10,325 students received cash transfers to attend school. 94% of these students are still in school.
  • 23,550 teachers received training to the open and distance learning program.
  • 26 million textbooks have been procured.
  • A human resource management system is in place at the national level.
  • 1,462 head teachers received school management training.
  • All schools received grants and support from the ministry to prepare strategic and annual work plans.

Source: World Bank Implementation Completion and Results Report (December 2015)

Last updated December 27, 2016