Education in Malawi

The education sector has experienced tangible progress in Malawi. The primary school enrollment increased by 16% between 2008 and 2013 at an average annual growth rate of 4%. Yet, the sector faces multidimensional challenges such as inadequate school facilities, high pupil-teacher ratios, low learning achievement and huge capacity gap in school inspection and supervision.

To highlight few examples, more than 70% of eligible children do not have access to any form of early childhood education, the average primary student to classroom ratio increased from 105:1 in 2011/2012 to 124:1 in 2012/13, the pupil qualified teacher ratio worsened from 92:1 in 2011/12 to 95:1 in 2012/13, and the pass rates for the Primary School Leaving Certificate of Education (PSLCE) have been declining each year between 2006/07 and 2011/12 from 74.4% in 2006 to 68.9% in 2011.

To address these issues, Malawi has developed its Education Sector Implementation Plan II (2013/14 – 2017/18), which consists of five sub-sectors with their respective key objectives:

Blogs and news

Girls at Muzu Primary School in Malawi. Credit: GPE/Govati Nyirenda
March 06, 2019
In focus: Girls' education and gender equality To get more accurate and usable information on the multiple barriers that girls face in education, several projects are under way to measure...
Students line up at school in Kenya. Credit: GPE/Kelley Lynch
May 24, 2018
A delegation from Malawi visited Kenya to learn more about the government's efforts to ensure all children have access to quality education. In this context, the delegation visited six primary...
Classroom in Malawi. Credit: Evan Rogers
May 08, 2018
The government in Malawi will recruit 8000 primary school teachers to reduce the student-teacher ratio.

Latest grant

Teacher Maureen Kaunda helps her student. Malawi, September 2016.

CREDIT: GPE/Govati Nyirenda
Development objective: 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.
Grant agent:IBRD

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.


All amounts are in US dollars.

Grant type Years Allocations Disbursements Grant agent  
Program implementation 2016-2020 44,900,000 26,244,438 IBRD Progress report
2010-2015 90,000,000 90,000,000 IBRD Completion report
Sector plan development 2013 250,000 - IBRD  
Program development 2015 319,114 313,569 IBRD  
  TOTAL 135,469,114 116,558,007    

Education sector progress

The graphs below show overall progress in the education sector in Malawi. Download this PDF to view the country’s progress on 16 results framework indicators monitored by the GPE Secretariat.


Primary completion rate (%)

Lower secondary completion rate

Out-of-school rate for children of primary school age

Out-of-school rate for adolescents of lower secondary school age

Pre-primary gross enrollment rate

Gender parity index for out-of-school rate – Primary and lower secondary

Public expenditure on education as share of GDP (%)

Students/trained teacher ratio

Teachers trained (%)

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.

Last updated May 15, 2019