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:
- Basic education encompasses early childhood development, complementary basic education that allows marginalized, out of school children and adults to access basic education, and general primary education. It aims to:
- Ensure that 50% of children reach standard 4 literacy/numeracy by 2017,
- Make teaching and learning materials available, and ensure that textbooks are not only available, but also optimally used,
- Make additional classrooms available,
- Ensure inclusion of all learners,
- Attain a motivated and high-performing teaching staff
- Increase internal efficiency of primary education, and
- Improve management/resource delivery.
- Secondary education aims to:
- Increase access,
- Improve quality and equity of secondary schools by narrowing the gap between conventional secondary schools and community day secondary schools,
- Improve secondary school management.
- Primary and secondary teacher training aims to:
- Enhance the quality of primary teacher training,
- Improve access to secondary teacher training,
- Improve quality of secondary teacher training.
- Technical and vocational education and higher education aim to:
- Increase access to technical colleges,
- Make technical colleges more adequate to the needs of the labor market,
- Provide a more coordinated policy and regulatory framework,
- Ensure quality of higher education,
- Improve financial resource mobilization, and
- Introduce a comprehensive management information system.
- Support services, which include system governance, management, policy development, and inspection and advisory services. Their main objective is to ensure that services be planned, budgeted and delivered on time
The plan addresses also three crosscutting issues: special needs, school health and nutrition, and gender.
Over the last five years, the government of Malawi has shown continued commitment to the education sector with the allocation of over 20% of the national budget towards education.