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This chapter aims at giving a brief description of the goals and targets decided by education authorities in Malawi in respect to each of the six "target dimensions" of EFA Framework for Action to Meet Basic Learning Needs. In each dimension, an attempt will be made to indicate the authority behind the targets; whether it is presidential decree, development plan, education reform act etc.


1990 - 1995

The goals and targets in this period come from some of the 1985 – 1995 Education Development Plans. The target population in ECCDA includes children in general (from conception to age 5), Women, especially the pregnant and disadvantaged women, disadvantaged and special needs children. These goals and targets include the following: -

  1. Integration of Pre-school, Primary, Out of School Youth (10-14) and Adult Literacy Education into one separate Ministry of Basic Education (UNESCO-MALAWI-TIFANFEIM, 1991)
  2. Creation of a clear structure for pre-school Education by April, 1994, beginning in 1992, at the initiative of Ministry of Community Services (MOCS)
  3. Creating a relevant curriculum by April, 1994, beginning 1992 at the initiative of (MOCS)
  4. Creation of a clear management structure of pre-school Education at national, regional and district levels
  5. Abolition of tuition fees for pre-schools
  6. Strengthening of local training programmes for pre-school education
  7. Introducing incentives for pre-school education personnel
  8. Training 25000 pre-school group leaders
  9. Increasing parental awareness and participation in pre-school education at all levels
  10. Producing formal curriculum for pre-school learning which links pre-school with primary education and caters for children with special needs (following review)
  11. Providing adequate pre-school teaching and learning methods
  12. Creating four Senior Administrative Posts for Pre-school at the new Ministry: Chief Pre-school Officer-PS, Principal Pre-school Officer-P7, Senior Pre-school Officer-P8 and Pre-school Officer-PO (UNESCO-MALAWI-TIFANFEIM, 1991).

1995 – 2005

Following the formulation of the new U.D.F government in 1994 and the commitment to expand basic education, the Ministry of Women, Children, Community services and Social Welfare (now Ministry of Gender) came up with a policy document on ECCDA. This document states that the arm of ECCDA. in Malawi shall be :-

To provide high quality and improved coverage of Early Childhood Education Programmes by :-

  1. Ensuring the survival, protection, development, participation and dignity of the young child;
  2. Ensuring that every Malawian child has access to basic and appropriate development and learning practices and standards of ECDE which include cognitive, physical, emotional, social and spiritual development without discrimination;
  3. Providing guidelines from which action programmes and services can be developed to facilitate meaningful provision of ECDE facilities and services


Through this Policy Document GOM shall endeavor to: -

  1. Expand quality ECCDA programmes through the already existing mechanisms;
  2. Encourage the provision and sustainability of ECCDA activities;
  3. Strengthen partnership between interested parties in ECCDA programmes to avoid duplication;
  4. Address the general needs and rights of children aged 0-5 years;
  5. Set up and maintain a data bank for easy and quick retrieval of information pertaining to ECCDA programmes;
  6. Mobilize internal and external resources (human, material and financial) for more effective ECCDA interventions;
  7. Promote the role of families and communities in ECCDA programmes and strengthen their responsibilities in these areas;
  8. Encourage the exploration of innovative ECCDA initiatives;
  9. Encourage the establishment of more ECCDA centers;
  10. Promote inclusive pre-schooling in order to achieve integration for children with special needs;
  11. Increase and intensify advocacy for ECCDA services at all levels;
  12. Provide institutional support to institutions that develop curriculum and train personnel;
  13. Synchronize planning and budgeting for ECCDA services.



The goals and targets for this period basically come from the second Education Development Plan (1985 – 1995) and it targeted children of primary school going age 6 – 13. The plan aimed to: -

  1. Equalise educational opportunities;
  2. Promote efficiency in the system;
  3. Improve physical and human resources and
  1. Encourage judicious use of limited resources.


The goals and targets for this period basically come from the MOE Policy Investment Framework (1995 – 2005) and the UDF party manifesto. In these two documents it is stated that Government of Malawi shall: -

  1. Develop and provide basic education for every child in effective partnership with relevant stakeholders and
  2. Equip pupils/students with basic knowledge and to allow them function as competent and productive citizens in a free society.


Before the end of the plan period 1995 – 2005 GOM plans to: -

  1. Offer Free Primary school Education to all primary school age children;
  2. Achieve a target of Net Enrolment Ratio of 90 per cent;
  3. Strengthen partnership among all sectors with a view that they finance 40 per cent and government finances 60 per cent;
  4. Facilitates the development of Junior Community schools by the private sector, local community, Non Governmental Organisations and the Donor Community to cater for standards 1-4;
  5. Institute several interventions to ensure equity;
  6. Ensure that design of school buildings take cognisance of Special Needs children comfort;
  7. Accept back to school pregnant girls and boys responsible for pregnancy after child weaning;
  8. Increase subventions to Special Needs schools;
  9. Increase number of Special Needs trained teachers;
  10. Change school year from September to July, to January to December;
  11. Ensure that the qualified teacher/pupil ratio is maintained at 1:60;
  12. Provide regular in-service training to all teachers through school-based in-service programmes;
  13. Reduce high classroom/pupil ratio to 1:60;
  14. Reduce school size to a school population of about 1,000 pupils;
  15. Make wearing of school uniform a non-compulsory condition for school attendance;
  16. Construct 30,000 classrooms;
  17. Provide furniture (364,000 desk benches) for all classrooms;
  18. Improve the textbook/pupil ratio to one textbook per two pupils as an intermediate target;
  19. Put in place an efficient mechanism for ensuring that teaching/learning materials get to the classroom;
  20. Provide three bedroom houses and 1 head teacher house at each new school with 960 enrolment;
  21. Recruit and train 18,000 paraprofessional teachers within four years;
  22. Institute strategies to reduce both drop out and repetition rates to less than 5 per cent in standards one to seven and 15 per cent in standard eight.


The goals and targets for this period come from the second Education Development Plan (1985 – 1995) the World Bank – Republic of Malawi Education Sector Credit I and II (1985 –1995) and Policy Investment Framework (1995 – 2005, and 1999 – 2009). From these documents it is indicated by 1995 government of Malawi would have

(i) Improved education quality, through various measures such as :

    1. curriculum development and reform
    2. textbook preparation and distribution
    3. introduction of a new primary school radio program
    4. rehabilitation of utterly dilapidated primary school classroom
    5. Upgrading the quality and expanding the output of primary school teachers
    6. Introducing examination reforms and
    7. Strengthening the Inspectorate
  1. Develop an efficient and high quality system of education of a type and size appropriate both to reliable resources and the political, social and economic aspiration of the country.
  2. Reduce the high drop out and repetition rates.
  3. Introduce at both primary and lower secondary level curricula that will develop skills and a respect for manual labour as a means of sustainable livelihood transfer vocational education to the Ministry of Labour and Manpower Development for it to be properly planned for and implemented.
  4. Ensure school based health and nutrition services and programmes will become internal part of the education delivery services (PIF 99 – 2009)
  5. Deploy well-trained teachers in schools and up date the pedagogical and administrative skills of those already in the service.
  6. Liberalise the supply of tuition to schools.
  7. Expand capacity at planning and supervisory level to sufficiently accommodate demands from an expanded system.
  8. Liberalise textbook provision to schools
  9. Decentralise supervision, planning and management to divisional level.
  10. Alleviate the poverty of the masses to enable them create learner friendly homes.
  11. Make the Ministry of Education System more responsive to the problems of its teachers as well as the pupils.


1990 – 1995

Objectives/targets for this period included the following :

  1. To discourage std 8 repetition by giving 75% of form one place to non repeaters, 20% for first time repeaters and 5% for multiple repeaters.
  2. To register all pupils for the sake of monitoring repetition and dropout (World Bank First Sector Credit) by class, gender, age school, District and Division.
  3. To train 4,450 primary school teachers under Distance Teacher Education .To run one year Primary Teacher upgrading course to produce 540 teachers a year.
  4. To launch a day scholar scheme for three urban Teachers Training College
  5. To provide textbooks and instructional materials to pupils in primary schools.
  6. To provide teacher and training materials in form of notebooks, chalk, blackboard, paint etc .
  7. To ensure that there is fair distribution of qualified teachers between rural and urban schools.
  8. To set new school calendar that will not put pupils/students in conflict with
  9. Parental views of opportunity cost between school and farming.

  10. To rehabilitate 226 schools and teacher houses
  11. To expand MANEBs computer capacity and trim its staff in the field of tests and measurement.
  12. To improve primary school radio programmes by establishing a Primary School Broadcasting Unit (PSBU) within the Malawi Broadcasting Corporation (MBC)
  13. To put in place thirteen Advisors, four assistant Directors, Deputy Director for Curriculum and research at Central office.

1995 – 2000

  1. To encourage every school to develop and introduce at least two community, non-examinable and skills – oriented subjects oriented towards the local enrichment and diversification of curriculum..
  2. To put in place nine supervisory officers at each of the six Divisions responsible for supervision, inspection and advisory services (1995 – 2000).
  3. To demarcate districts into school zones with schools clustering around a Teacher Development Centre (TDC).
  4. To put Primary Education Advisors resident in each zone
  5. To put in place ------ Planning Officers, ---------- Statisticians, --------------Systems Analysts, 1 Director and 1 Deputy Director in the planning section at Central Office.
  6. To put in place --------Planning Officers in each of the six divisions .
  7. To establish an educational material Supplies Unit at the center of the country.
  8. To launch a new textbook policy where each school will have the autonomy to choose three alternative textbooks out of a list of approved textbooks
  9. To train all Supervisory staff, School Heads, and Heads of Department in book evaluation
  10. To establish a Teacher Development Unit to administer and coordinate Teacher and PEA pre-service and in-service education.
  11. To upgrade Teacher Training College tutors academic and professional qualifications to at least first-degree level.
  12. To re-engage 2000 retired, trained teachers.
  13. To recruit 18,000 new untrained teachers.
  14. To offer Primary School Heads, Deputy Heads, Sectional Heads, and PEAs school and TDC management in-service courses .
  15. To train using a Distance Teacher Training Programme (Malawi Integrated In-service Teacher Education-MIITEP) 18,000 teachers in three years.
  16. To promote the development of school textbooks by local authors.
  17. To conduct Social Mobilisation Campaigns aimed at sensitizing communities on the importance of sending the girl- child to school and encouraging her to compete confidently with boys (GABLE).
  18. To promote the education of the girl-child with a special bias towards science and technical subjects (MAMSTIP and National Bank).
  19. To encourage pupils/students appreciate and participate in cultural activities through drama (ATEM).
  20. To establish an independent council to be responsible for the establishment and supervision of private schools.


This theme targets out of school children of 10 – 14 and youth of 14 –25 years especially the:

  1. Urban and rural poor
  2. Street youth
  3. School drop outs
  4. Disabled
  5. Semi-literate and illiterate
  6. Deviant
  7. Young women and
  8. Unemployed

1990 – 1995

The 1991 EFA PPM and POA outlines the goals and targets for this area as follows:

  1. To create an agency responsible for special Non –formal Programmes for out of school Youths by April 1993 at the initiative of the Department of Youth.
  2. To establish a structure for 10 – 14 year old out of school children education by 1993
  3. To enrol into this programme 50 per cent of the age group 10 – 14 not in school
  4. To plan and launch a pilot Programme for the 10 – 14 Target Group and involve the necessary budgetary allocations by April 1992 with initiative fro the Department of Youth.
  5. To offer the enrolled youth learning competencies equivalent to Primary School Standard six.
  6. To develop community based and skills oriented programmes for out of school children (10-14 years olds)
  7. To have 502 of the 10 –14 year old out of school children absorbed into special programmes by the year 2000.
  8. To have the programme establish a central office with 6 professional staff, 3 Planners/administrators (UNESCO_MALAWI, TIFANFEIM 1991)


From the 1991 EFA PPM and POA it is indicated that the National Adult Literacy Programme (NALP) Aimed at realising the following goals and targets by the year 2000.

  1. To reduce adult illiteracy rate of 50% to 30%
  2. To increase male participation from 15% to 35%
  3. To reduce illiteracy rate of women from 66% to 30% (1991)
  4. To increase rural information centres from 450 to 750 by the year 2000
  5. To solicit adequate financial assistance and will funding
  6. To review the existing Literacy Curriculum
  7. To incorporate cultural and traditional education into the literacy programme
  8. To make literacy programme equivalent to standard 3 of primary education

(ix) To integrate functional activities into the literacy programme

  1. To produce more relevant instructional materials

(xi) To provide adequate instructional materials

  1. To revive literacy committees
  2. To orient literacy committees
  3. To organise separate classes for men
  4. To supervise literacy classes regularly
  5. To train village librarians.


This theme mainly targets the use of the electronic and print media for educational purposes. These media include radio and television broadcasts, street, stage and air theatre, magazines, newspapers, social mobilisation campaigns, libraries and book fairs.

1990 – 1993

There were no EFA specific goals and targets in this area except the already referred to attempt to establish a PSBU considered under Quality targets. But Generally the broad goals of the print and electronic media in this period would be outlined as having been to :

  1. Educate according to the interests of the one party government
  2. Inform according to the interests of the one party government
  3. Intertain according to the interests of the one party government
  4. Promote the interest of a one – party democracy
  5. Promote Chichewa as a national language
  6. Promote English as an official language
  7. Promote economic development through Agriculture
  8. Promote the Health of the Nation
  1. - 2000

The broad goals of the print and electronic media have been to :

  1. Educate according to the dictate of multiparty democracy and human rights.
  2. Inform according to the dictates of multiparty democracy and human rights.
  3. Entertain according to the dictates of multi party democracy and human rights
  4. Promote the interests of all groups and associations of people in Malawi.
  5. Promote the language of the Five demographically major tribes in Malawi
  6. Promote English as an official language
  7. Promote economic development through agriculture and free business investment.

The National Library Service

Core activities

The core activities of the National Library Service are targeted at children, pupils, students, youths, teachers, parents, researchers and workers.


  1. Increase access points
  2. Strategy

    Establish District Branch Libraries

  3. Support the school curriculum
  4. Strategy

    Establish and service library centres/units in primary and secondary schools, Community Day Secondary Schools and densely populated areas including peri- urban centres.

  5. Maintain literacy skills


    1. Distribute reading/information materials to District Branch Libraries, Library centres/units in primary and secondary schools and Community Day Secondary Schools, Adult Literacy centres and Rural Community Information Centres and peri-urban centres.
    2. Stocking suitable and relevant books and reading/information materials at access points i.e District Branch Libraries, Library Centres/Units in Primary and secondary Schools, Adult Literacy Centres, and Rural Community Information Information Centres and per- urban centres.
  1. Publishing, promoting, use of facilities and resource
    1. Conduct Reading Campaigns targeted at Primary school pupils, teachers and parents
    2. Conduct publicity through the Mass media
    3. Make Book donations to various institutions


The initial EFA agreed strategy in 1991/92 constituted gradual phasing out of School Fees in the Primary School sector. This started with Free Education in standards 1 and 2, Free Education to all non repeating girls in all grades (GABLE), the training of 5,450 teachers under a three year programme called MASTEP and one year In-Service Training course for temporary teachers aimed at training 540 teachers a year.

An EFA Task Force comprising sectional directors in the Ministry of Education, Stakeholder Ministries of Health, Gender, and Agriculture together with education support institutions of MIE, MANEB, CERT, NSO, National Library Service and National Commission for UNESCO was formal in 1990 to oversee EFA progress. However this task force did not do much. This is because of political unrest which was caused by the nation wide agitation against one party rule.

A clearer and more comprehensive policy came after change of government in May 1994. Following the UDF manifesto, Malawi primary school education became free for all in September 1994. Teaching and Learning materials were to be provided by the government free of charge. The mother tongue of the school’s local environment became the medium of instruction in grades 1to 4. A lady Minister was appointed to head the Ministry of Women, Children, and Social welfare and Community Services (now Ministry of Gender Youth and Community Development). The radio station started broadcasting news bulletins in the Six major languages of the land (Chichewa, Chiyao, Chitumbuka, Chilomwe, Chisena and Chitonga) and a lot more programmes on Civic Education, democracy, Human Rights, the environment and HIV/AIDS were launched. Thirty-eight thousand classrooms were to be constructed, 2,000 classrooms and 400 teachers houses to be rehabilitated 75,000 desk benches to be provided and 22,000 teachers to be recruited and 16,000 of them to be trained.

In 1995 Malawi Education For All (MEFA) initiative was launched by some urban individuals interested in Education to mobilise funds and materials for the cause of Free Primary Education in Malawi. This initiative however did not last long, but the EFA Task Force was revived the same year. After this revival the Task Force with approval from the Minister of Education, Sports and Culture has been making the decisions for EFA. At executive level the Minister of Education collaborates with the other concerned ministries. Progress is monitored by the National Co-ordinator in collaboration with the leaders of the Thematic Technical Committees.

The basic learning needs identified included Literacy, Numeracy, Life Skills pertaining to major life occupations in Malawi like farming, fishing, environmental care, HIV/AIDS, democracy, Human Rights, Political, tribal, and Religious tolerance, peace and conflict resolutions, adolescent health management and respect for people with special needs.

Particular age groups were identified and these include children of age 0-5, from 6-13, youth from 14-25, children with special needs, girls vis-à-vis boys, adults who included pregnant women, women vis-à-vis men, Small Holder Farmers, Fishermen, the disadvantaged, teachers, and rural communities.

The EFA strategy and/or plan has over the decade been reviewed from time to time through Development Plan, Policy Implementation Framework fora, public information campaigns, legislative acts (law, budget) education reform measures, EFA Task Force seminars cabinet committee meetings special EFA programmes and initiatives (e.g. MEFA) and literacy campaigns (see annex ----).


Major EFA policy matters are decided by the EFA Task force with the approval of the Principal Secretaries of the government Ministries concerned. As already stated in the foregoing chapters a good number of EFA policies were already part of the routine periodic education development plans and as such their decisions and management have been done by Policy Implementation Framework (PIF) teams. Coincidentally, most of the EFA taskforce members are also member of the PIF. EFA actions are managed and coordinated by the National commission for UNESCO in liaison with other UN agencies and the National EFA coordinator. The National coordinator chairs an EFA National Consultative Committee that comprises senior officers from stakeholder departments. The consultative committee meets time to time to review strategies, assess progress and make suggestion to the National task force on future progress.


Government of Malawi has since independence succeeded to woe cooperation in Education from various local and foreign organisations, agencies and institutions. In the Education for All endeavors cooperation has come from families and communities who have supplemented government efforts in the provision of teaching and learning materials. Parents have borne the expenses of extra- pens and notebooks where government supply has fallen below normal requirements. Parents have also contributed towards the payment of other domestic school related expenses.

Before 1994, communities using the concepts of self help and youth week contributed their labour, fully processed bricks and other locally available building inputs to the construction and rehabilitation of classrooms and teachers houses. From 1994 when Malawi became a multi party state, this self help spirit has been revitalised by the World Bank funding for local development projects including school construction. This funding initiative is called Malawi Social Action Fund (MASAF). MASAF requires that a community contributes bricks, river sand and any other locally available building inputs and formulate a gender – balanced school management committee to quality for funds to enable it construct classroom blocks. Using this method, the MASAF initiative and other donor funded initiatives have mobilised the communities in Malawi in the construction of 6000 classrooms and 400 teachers’ houses and rehabilitation of 2000 classrooms between 1990 and 1998. Ofcourse most of the construction and rehabilitation has taken place between 1994 and 1998.

Although Primary Education is highly subsidised by government, the private sector also give a lot of assistance. Religious organisations, Local authorities, Community Association, Non-governmental organisations and community organisations all belong to this sector.

Among the Religious organisations, Government of Malawi has received cooperation from the Christian service committee, the Christian council of Malawi, The Roman Catholic Secretariat, the C.C.A.P Church Synods of Blantyre, Livingstonia and Nkhoma, The Anglican Diocese of Southern Malawi and many more others are running Primary schools, Early Childhood Care and Development centres, Technical Skills Training Colleges and Vocational Skills training schools.

Similarly, NGOs like Save the Children Federation (US) and (UK), Plan International, World vision International, Action Aid, Development Aid from People to People (DAPP), the Parents – Teachers schools Association. Press Trust, the Samaritan and many more others have also contributed by providing primary school, Early Childhood, Youth out of school and Adult Literacy education.

United Nations Agencies and other overseas organisations and government which have cooperated with the government of Malawi in EFA include the following: UNESCO, UNFPA, UNDP, UNICEF, World Bank, International Monetary fund (IMF), Overseas Development Agency (ODA), International Development Agency (IDA) The Danish International Development Agency (DANIDA) Swedish CIDA, German Agency for Technical Cooperation (GTZ/KFW) European Union (EU), African Development Bank (ADB), African Muslim Agency, United states Agency for International Development (USAID), the Norwegian Agency for Development cooperation (NORAD), Department for International Development (DFID)/British High commission/British Council, Australian and Canadian governments. There agencies and government have offered government of Malawi financial and technical assistance towards the planning, management, monitoring and assessing the EFA programmes.


1. Early Childhood Care and Development Activities (ECCDA)

It has been difficult to establish investment in this area because of lack of data.


Public Expenditure: Primary School Education

Following the Jomtien Conference, budgetary allocation for Primary Education doubled from 1991 to1992 academic year. In 1995, Malawi ranked eighth among African nations in terms of government expenditure allocated to education (GOM-FPEPAS-1998)

During the 1996-97 fiscal year, more than a quarter of total public expenditure was directed towards the education sector and 50 per cent of this went to Primary Education.

Public Current Expenditure on Primary Education as a percentage of GDP has risen from 1 per cent in the 1990/91 year to 3 per cent in 1997/98 year. It is expected to remain there as we enter the new millennium.

Public Current Expenditure on Primary Education per pupil as a percentage of GDP per capita rose from 7 per cent in the 1990/91 academic year to 11 per cent in the 1994/95 year and then declined to 9 per cent in the 1998/99 year. It is projected to lower down further to 8 per cent by the year 2000. (MOESC, Education Statiatics, 1999).

Public Current Expenditure on Primary Education as a percentage of Total Public Expenditure on Education has also shifted upwards from 46 per cent in 1990/91 to 60 per cent in 1997/98 year. It is expected to lower down to 55 per cent as we enter the year 2000.

Unit Public Expenditure increased from –4.35 per cent in 1991/92 to 281.6 in 1995/96 (FPE-PAS, 1994-98). Among Social Sector Spending, education ranks first, and education spending has consistently increased over the past nine years (FPE-PAS, 1994-98). Let it be noted however, that although Primary Education seems to be the priority, at the per unit expenditure level, University Education seems to be given priority. In 1995-96 year for instance, unit expenditure on University students was 219 times that of Primary pupils (FPE-PAS, 1994-98).

Early Childhood Care and Development Activities

Coming up with a consolidated account of Public Expenditure on all the programmes and activities involved in this sector is proving to be an extremely difficult encounter. This is because the programmes and activities are managed by a diverse spectrum of departments with considerable overlaps.

For Pre-Schools, government has been giving a flat subvention of MK28,000 per annum to the Association for Pre-School Play Groups to enable the Association meet the cost of honoraria for the Voluntary Instructors. This however, has not been forthcoming for the past two years -1997-1998(APPG Workshop Paper, Capital Hotel, 1999).

Early Childhood Care and Development Centers benefit government payment of salaries and transport costs for the District Social Welfare Officers responsible for supervision and coordination of the centers activities. Government also distributes picture/reading materials through the Malawi National Library Service-a parastatal organization.

It has so far proved difficult to get data on Public Expenditure on Adult Literacy Programmes between 1990 and 1995. The available data however, (for 1996 to 2000) indicate that government expenditure towards Adult Literacy Programmes rose from MK7.9 million in 1996 to MK14.9 million in 1999/2000. This covers Personal Emoluments and ORT (MOGYCS-Paper on EFA 2000 Assessment, Capital Hotel, 1999). However, the funding trend has been far below the 1990 projected expenditure requirement of MK20.22 million per annum. This has consequently affected the performance of the National Adult Literacy Programme (GOM-TEFA, 1990).

Education for the Youth Out of School is also another area which has suffered low consideration in the allocation of public funds. Government organs responsible for this area like the National Youth Council Established in 1996 work mainly as appendages of the Ministry of Gender, Youth and Community Services. As such their programmes are more often than not overshadowed by those of the mother Ministry. Thus for the National Youth Council the only programmes that are operational at the moment are those funded by UN agencies especially UNICEF, which unfortunately serve more to meet donor conditions than the interests of the Malawian youth.

Capital Investments

Teacher Recruitment and Training

Roughly about 36,300 teachers have been recruited by the government of Malawi since 1990. About 21,300 of these 36,300 have been trained through both residential and distance education programme.

Between 1987 and 1993, UNICEF supported a one-year programme which enabled untrained primary school teachers to upgrade and acquire a Teaching Certificate Through this programme a total of 2,000 teachers qualified for a Teaching Certificate.

In 1990, the Malawi Accelerated Special Training Education Programme (MASTEP), a ‘sandwich’ programme based on distance education materials combined with short residential courses and school-based supervision started. Funded by the World Bank, the programme enrolled 4,500 teachers per intake. The programme ran for three years(one intake) and ended up producing 4,300 teachers. In 1994 with the change of system of government and the declaration by the new government of Free Primary School Education, 20,000 untrained new teachers were recruited. These were to cope up with the sudden rise in the enrollment of pupils. Through a donor funded programme-Malawi Integrated In-service Teacher Education Programme, (MIITEP) started almost 75 per cent of these have received a three-week orientation course to teaching and about 3000 of them have already obtained a Teaching Certificate. By the end of the programme it is expected that 18,000 teachers which have been trained and certified to teach. And between 1989/98 and 1993/94 a total of 12,000 teachers were trained through the six normal residential colleges of Mzuzu, Kasungu, Lilongwe, St Josephy, Blantyre and St Montfort which have a total annual intake of 3,000. The combination of these different programmes of Teacher – Training raised the total number of teachers to a level that lowered down teacher pupil ration to 1:61 by 1995.

Three hundred and fifteen Primary Education Advisers were recruited and consequently the same number of School Clusters was established through a donor funded Malawi Schools Support Systems Project (MSSP). Since then the teachers have received several courses in School supervision and School-Cluster management. So far only about 10 of the School-Clusters have their physical infrastructures (including Teacher Resource Center building and PEA’s house) constructed. Through the same programme, School Heads and their Deputies have, from 1996, also received both residential and school-based training in pedagogy, School Management and utilization of Teacher-Resource Center.

Between 1994 and December 1998, 5038 classrooms have been constructed together with 2000 teacher-houses. In 1996 a national Supplies Unit was established in Lilongwe, the capital and Central city geographically with branches in Blantyre for the Southern region schools and in Mzuzu for the Northern


government spending on adult literacy has been decreasing over the years. Table 2 below indicates Government expenditure (MK) on Adult Literacy for the period 1996/97 to 1999/2000 (ie a 4 year period) inclusive.

Table 2 : Annual Expenditure on Adult Literacy






Adult Literacy




Emoluments 1
















































Source : Estimates on Revenue and Expenditure on Recurrent Accounts and Budget Estimates, Ministry of Gender, Youth and Community Services,


From the annual expenditure figures presented above, several inferences can be drawn. For instance, the reduction in funding from MK1.9 million in 1997/98 to 1999/2000 respectively on ORT which includes fuel and allowances, procurement of printing paper, honoraria etc and may impact negatively on the performance of the NALP.

Private Sector Expenditure on Basic Education

This has obviously risen over the decade. Practical evidence is indicated by the mushrooming of private institutions, both in the Pre-school and Primary school sectors. This is true especially from 1994 when government announced political willingness to have vigilant private sector contribution towards the task of universalizing Basic Education.

There is however, still no data on how much these private schools spend annually towards the provision of their services. This is so because most of the institutions have just mushroomed and are operating without actually following the required legal procedures. The available Education Act that is supposed to regulate the establishment and operation of these institutions is itself too out-dated to serve the purpose to any national benefit. Being, in the main, business entities, these institutions also tend to give cosmetic pictures on their financial flows for fear of government intervations.

Religious organisations both Christian and Islamic; individual businessmen and women; and NGOs like Action Aid, Plan International, Save the Children UK and USA, Development Aid from People to People (DAPP) and the Samaritan stand out as the providers of this service in the country.

Community and Family Expenditure

There are clear signs of positive change in community and family expenditure towards Basic Education.

In the rural areas many more people than before in trading centers, areas around educational institutions and district headquarters have responded positively towards paying a token fee towards the education of their Pre-School children in the Early Childhood Development Centres and/or the Pre-School Play Groups. In addition to the token fee families have gone to the extent of contributing foodstuffs to keep the Pre-school children confined to the centres for the required time.

In the urban areas many more people have recognized the importance of Pre-School education and to them education for their children now begins at an earlier age (often 3 years) than before Jomtien. This implies more expenditure than in those days when for the majority of the urban dwellers, education started from Primary Standard 1.

In the Primary School Sector, there has been a two-way development in community and family expenditure towards Basic Education. The first one has been government attempt to reduce if not eliminate family expenditure towards tuition and the purchases of other school-related materials like uniforms. Beginning much earlier than 1990 government’s policy has been to heavily subsidize education in this area. Up to 1991, government provided desks, notebooks, slates and textbooks and families paid tuition fees of MK3.50 in the junior classes (Standard 1-5), MK5.50 in the senior classes (Standard 6-8) and purchase pens and school uniform for their wards.

From 1991 to 1994 however, government abolished tuition fees in phases beginning with Standard 1 going through to Standard 4 all non-repeating girls. School uniform ceased to be a prerequisite condition for a child’s attendance of classes at school. In 1994 when the UDF party won power and declared Free Primary School Education its instrument in the alleviation of poverty, Primary Education became free to all classes and both sexes and free provisions included even pens. This in essence meant reduced family expenditure on Basic Education in terms of tuition.

It should be noted however, that this reduced family expenditure on tuition is being greatly offset by government’s failure these teaching and learning materials regularly. This is in part due to the Teacher-Salary burden already alluded to. Families are more often than not forced to purchase these materials on their own. This put in the context of high inflation and hence high commodity prices is resulting in Basic Education being in reality more expensive than free. Annex 6 shows the average expenditure by households on Education related activities as found out by the field study on the Benefits of Learning sponsored by the World Bank, in 1998.

The second form of development is that of generally increased level of family and community participation in school-related self-help programmes. The spirit of community self help is almost a cultural heritage in Malawi. Having been abused by the former government, this cultural heritage became Centre of political agenda by pressure groups in the period of fight for Multi-Party Democracy. This made the rural masses believe that this practice is undemocratic (FPE-PAS, 1994-98). This therefore, meant a decline in community commitment to contribution towards Basic Education expenditure in the early 90s up to late 1994.

Soon after the political change in 1994, the governments commitment to universalisation of basic education led to the formation of local funding initiative supported by World Bank loans called Malawi Social Action Fund (MASAF). Through this initiative, communities compete for funds for construction of classrooms and provision of teaching and learning materials on the basis of community’s own contribution of fully processed bricks, river sand, rocks, labour and /or any other building –related in-puts found in their local environment. Community contribution of building inputs alone in the 1998/99 school year was estimated at MK2, 435,483.87 (US $5412.97). Most of the 5038 classrooms completed by December 1998 have been built using such type of community participation.

Foreign Assistance in Basic Education

There has been an overwhelming increase in foreign assistance for Basic Education especially after the launch of the Free Primary Education in 1994. GOM was extremely successful in appealing to international donors for the necessary funds to undertake the FPE Reform. Upon noting the government’s political will, the donor community responded in force.

Between 1994 and 1998, major donors responded with contributions that amounted to over US$130 million (USAID, 1998) Statistics show that from 1995 to 1997 donors have financed 43 to 46 percent of the total government budget for all sectors of Education (USAID, 1998). The majority of donor funding is channelled through the Ministry of Finance, although some contributions go straight to schools or individual pupils as scholarships (FPE-PAS, 1994-98).

Major New Investments

There are a number of major new investments that have been made following Jomtien 1990. These include:


  1. Classrooms
  1. 5038 constructed
  2. 2,195 Rehabilitated
  3. 166 Complete schools
  1. About 10 Teacher Development Centres (TDCs)
  2. Teacher houses
  1. 13,000 constructed
  2. 412 Rehabilitated
  1. About 10 Primary School Education Advisors’ houses
  2. Over 7 Million and 200,000 Teachers’ Guides (Printing and Provision of textbooks)
  3. Teacher Training (MIITEP)
  4. Curriculum reform
  5. Social Mobilisation and scholarships for Girls (GABLE I SMC and GABLE II EQ
  6. Professional development for school supervisors, inspectors and managers: MSSSP
  7. Community training in school management and maintenance (MSSSP)
  8. Policy review process (PIF)

See Annex 7 for summary of agencies, projects and amount of assistance.

Recurrent Expenditure

From 1991/92 year to 1996 the trend of recurrent expenditure shows constant rise. The increase in mainly due to the recruitment of the 20,000 untrained teachers in 1994. The teachers’ salaries were already a major burden to bear in Basic Education expenditure even before the 1994 crisis. For instance, teachers’ salaries alone in the 1990/91 year represented 87 per cent of total recurrent expenditure. In the 1994/95 year this rose to 97 percent (MOE, FPE-PAS, 1994-98).

The strain of teachers’ salaries on the budget has been so severe that it has either undermined or even displaced other expenses within the recurrent budget. Instructional materials like notebooks, pens and slates which government has to provide free if FPE is to be qualitative as well, are difficult to be distributed timely, regularly and in sufficient quantities. Due to this teacher salary pressure the percentage of financial resources allocated to quality cause at all levels declined form 11.5 percent in 1990/91 year to less than 3 percent in 1995 (World Bank, 1995). It is worth noting however, that though teachers salaries cause such budgetary strain, they are not in the least high enough to sustain the teachers’ morale. Annex 8 presents a summary of Primary school Teachers salary structure as of January 1998.

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