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Chapter 9 MAIN CHALLENGES ENCOUNTERED AND ANTICIPATED
This chapter aims at presenting main challenges that slowed or prevented progress towards specific EFA goals and targets. It goes further to outlining those challenges that are likely to continue impeding progress and new ones expected to begin slowing efforts in achieving EFA goals and targets.
(1) EXPANSION OF EARLY CHILDHOOD CARE AND DEVELOPMENT ACTIVITIES
From both the context of the assessment and the historical profile of Pre-school Playgroups in Malawi, it becomes apparent that the ECCDA as a sub-sector has, in the decade, been beset by many challenges. The challenges include the following:
(a) Critical maternal and under-five situation
Maternal Mortality rate was estimated at 62 deaths per 100,000 live births in 1992. In the 1998 population census the Maternal Mortality rate still stood at as high as 560 deaths per 100,000 live births. Infant Mortality rate before first birthday stands at 135 per 1000 live births. Under Five Mortality rate in 1992 was estimated at 240 per 1000. Currently, this is estimated at 215 per 1000. By as late as 1995 food insecurity was reported to be rampant and malnutrition still a big problem among the children of the pre-school age category.
(b) Population high Dependency ratio and HIV/AIDS
The 1998 census indicates that one in every six persons in Malawi, is less than five years of age. This makes the population dependency ratio as high as 99.7 per every 100 adults. The situation is worsened by HIV/AIDS, which is also taking its tall, turning so many young children into orphans. This continues to put more pressure on already overstretched government resources including Health facilities.
(c.) Lack of Priority attention
Pre-school education has been characterised by lack of priority attention from both donors and government. The public Pre-school Playgroups or Child Day Care Centres are in the main Community based with voluntary instructors who are paid honoraria by the communities themselves. Classroom structures are basically borrowed premises including churches and Council Halls. As a result of this effective monitoring and data preservation are almost non-existent activities and training of any kind is difficult to conduct in the absence of any sure source of funds. By1994, only 10% of the Parents committees were trained.
. (d) Lack of co-ordination among stakeholders
There also has been lack of proper co-ordination and liaison among the stakeholder ministries in the field of pre-school education. Ministry of Health and Population that deals with growth monitoring and the other health-related prenatal and post-natal activities does not necessarily and directly feed this information to the APPM or Ministry of Gender for the benefit of the Pre-school instructor. Similarly, Ministry of Agriculture does not directly co-ordinate with the APPM and Ministry of Gender on nutritional and food security issues. The APPM and Ministry of Gender, Youth and Community Services do not necessarily report developments in the Pre-school section to the primary school sector or Ministry of Education proper.
(e) Delay in implementing new policies.
While a comprehensive government policy framework for ECCDE has been drafted there has not been efforts to translate this into practical operations.
(F) Unequal access to pre-school education.
Poverty Alleviation Policy and initiative has not yet transformed the socio-economic stand of the majority of the population and this state of affairs will continue impeding communities’ ability to run community-based Early Childhood programmes.
2. UNIVERSAL ACCESS TO AND COMPLETION OF, PRIMARY SECTION
Despite the framework for Free Primary Education (FPE) having been created, there is still a need for more and better educational facilities for the enhancement of the capacity of a qualified teaching force.
In Adult Literacy Education male participants continue to shy off froom attendance while females continue to drop-out before completion and both developments continue to militate against the sustainment of literacy skills obtained.
The dramatic expansion of primary school opportunity has put tremendous pressure on a traditionally elitist Secondary School system to accommodate more children. A growing Secondary School sub-sector will necessarily put pressure on the tertiary sector.
Continued relegation of Early childhood Education to the poverty striken communities will perpetuate late entry into primary school, under achievement in basic learning competencies in the infant section of the primary school and high drop-out rate before standards 8.I
There are standing regional, district and socio-economic disparities with regard to educational access at the basic education level. Overall, urban residents have more access to education opportunity than do their rural counterparts. Gender – focussed initiatives will act as one of the main alternatives to the elimination of poverty.
In some parts of the country, girls’ enrolment in primary school is relatively low.
Malawian girls are more prone to repetition and drop-out than boys and women from the majority of the country’s illiterate.
IMPROVEMENT IN LEARNING ACHIEVEMENT (QUALITY AND RELEVANCE)
EXPANSION OF BASIC EDUCATION AND TRAINING IN OTHER ESSENTIAL SKILLS REQUIRED BY YOUTH AND ADULTS
the vastness of the age group and its diverse interests
The youth out of school together with the unskilled and illiterate young adults constitute a group that has diverse and complicated interests and values to be easily harnessed into a single viable and cost-effective programme.
Lack of financial capacity to run a youth training institution successfully embracing all the needs of the youth at once.
The few available institutions lack the potential to massively harness the energies, enthusiasm and intellect of the youth and adults to the contemporary critical needs of the Malawi society and the youth and the adults themselves.
There is a wide age range (10 – 25) among the youth-out-of school which makes it difficult to come up with relevant cost-effective training packages for the various groups.
© Lack of capacity to publicise the available technical/vocational skills training institutions
The available institutions, especially those run by NGOs are basically church-related and their existence in the country may be well known only by the individuals affiliated to that particular church. The proprietors of these institutions seem to have limited potential to publicise their institutions on national level. This seems true even to the public institutions.
(d)Limited capacity to increasing access to Technical/Vocational Skills training for the youth and adults.
The available Technical/Vocational Skills training institutions have limited capacity that does not suffice the demand for these courses.
(e) Lack of data on the actual numbers of the various groups of youths and adults to be catered for in this category.
There is no data to indicate the exact numbers of the various categories of the youth and adults that are to be reached by government programmes aimed at addressing the needs in this area. Similarly, there is also no official records indicating the number of the youths who have already been reached by the available programmes neither there any record of the number of those reached and are employed.
(f) High loan interest rates in banks
Banks still charge high interest rates to loans and this is discouraging to a young graduate from these Technical/Vocational Skills Training Institutions just beginning a business.
(g) high unemployment rate
The prevailing high unemployment rate discourages the youth and adults in this category from taking the courses offered because they feel even if they undergo the training, they wont get employed.
(h) Gender stereotyping of courses
The trainees continue to enrol themselves into courses in gender stereotyped manner. There are always women enrolling for those courses traditionally believed to be women’s domain and visa versa. The exception to this is the Nazarene College training programme in carpentry for women refugees.
Limited of funds
Most of the challenges outlined above stem from this one. In particular, limited funds have made kills training programmes limited in providing systematic follow-up of trainees, and limited provision for post-training services like refresher courses.
REDUCTION OF ADULT ILLITERACY RATE, ESPECIALLY THE DISPARITY BETWEEN MALE AND FEMALE ILLITERAQCY RATES.
(a) Insufficient funding by government
The Adult Literacy Programme has been insufficiently funded in the decade. As a result of this insufficient funding there have been Inadequate funds for procurement of teaching and learning materials including office equipment at the Adult Literacy Centre. This has also affected operations at various levels. There are for instance difficulties when it comes to maintenance of vehicles/motor cycles, purchase of fuel and payment of subsistence allowances for supervision of literacy activities. Consequently this has led to inadequate monitoring and supervision of progress and the nature of instruction being actually offered in the centers. Prospects in any form of training and or orientations for personnel at all levels are also made dim (i.e. Literacy Instructors and Committees inclusive).
(B) POOR RETENTION OF LITERACY INSTRUCTORS
Two thousand literacy instructors are currently serving the NALP requiring a total amount of MK 4 million (the equivalence of US$88888.8) for their honoraria payment after teaching for a period of 10 months. Insufficient funding makes it difficult for the Adult Literacy Center to pay them on time resulting in frustration and high attrition rate of about 13 per cent annually.
(C) HIGH DROPOUT RATES AMONG WOMEN PARTICIPANTS
Drop out rate is high among women participants. This is largely due to lack of direct linkage between literacy and socio-economic needs especially that the majority of the illiterates who attend the literacy classes are living below poverty line.
(D) LACK OF GENDER AWARENESS AMONG THE RURAL POPULATION
In most cases the target in adult literacy education are house wives who work more than 12 hours a day and so are pre-occupied with work at home to the extent that they have less time to attend the classes. The main cause of this scenario is found to be lack of gender awareness among both men and women. In the absence of gender equity awareness men believe it’s a sign of weakness to assist a wife in what are traditionally believed to be feminine chores and visa versa. Men/husbands are therefore, less willing to assist their partners with domestic chores to give them chance to attend literacy classes.
(E) INADEQUATE CO-OPERATION AND COLLABORATION WITH PARTNER AGENCIES
There are several partners in provision of adult literacy education like NGOs. In the decade 1990-2000 there has been inadequate co-operation and collaboration between Centre for Adult Education and these other partner agencies resulting in little or no information sharing regarding literacy activities being implemented by such organisations.
(F) LACK OF RECOGNITION OF NALP EFFORTS BY THE NATIONAL STATISTIC OFFICE.
Currently, the national statistical office (NSO) does not include adult literacy graduates in their census figurers. By implication, it means that the same Government through NSO does not recognise efforts made by itself through the NALP. In essence, it means that census figures by NSO reflect a lower figure of literacy levels in Malawi.
EDUCATION FOR BETTER LIVING
From 1990 to 1994 there was only one radio station broadcasting to the nation on medium and short wave . Announcements and news bulletins of the activities of the single ruling party dominated the radio station.
CHAPTER 10: PUBLIC AWARENESS, POLITICAL WILL AND NATIONAL CAPACITIES
1. Early Childhood Care and Development Activities
(a) Public -awareness.
In Malawi in general government has made considerable efforts to make people aware of and participate in Early Childhood Care and Development Activities especially those to do with the mother and the young child before the age of 3. These include provision of immunisation, nutritional supplements and guidance, inoculation, vaccination, antenatal and postnatal services like child spacing. Each and every hospital, health-Centre, clinic and dispensary has an Under-Five section to offer basic Child -Care services. Through the Public Health Campaigns the public is sensitised to the importance of these services. Banja La Mtsogolo (BLM) a non-governmental organisation has played a major role in harnessing government efforts to educate and serve the rural population, young and old in the field of child-spacing
When it comes to the issue of pre-school education however, it is difficult to ascertain that the public is all sensitised to its availability and importance. The development of pre-school education in the country has its origin in the urban sector. It has also been established in the foregoing chapters that up to date Pre-school education is common to the urban and the economically well off rural individual parents. One may, therefore, safely conclude that public awareness to the majority of the rural mass is not significant. The most worrisome thing is that while there might be some awareness of the availability of pre-school provision in the country, the majority of the populace who constitute the rural poor and illiterates, may just continue considering pre-school education as a meaningless luxury for the rich and educated few.
(b) Political Will
There is clear political will for the development of Pre-school education as seen from the enabling policy given to the private sector and NGOs to operate pre-school playgroups and Child Day Care Centres without any government interference. However, in the past nine years full government contribution towards the pre-school sub-sector has been overshadowed by the efforts to universalise primary education. Despite the preoccupation with primary education, government still succeeded to mobilise donor support towards the sub-sector though meagre as compared to the primary school sub-sector. Now that some advancement is made in the primary sub-sector there is need that government should begin turning its attention towards the Pre-school sub-sector to ensure that the gains being made the primary sub-sector are maximised and consolidated.
© National Capacities
The private sector has already showed its capacity by establishing and manage the pre-school playgroups and Child Day Care Centres already refereed to in the assessment. The rural communities’ ability to support projects in the basic education sub-sector is already exemplified by the way they have supported the Free Primary Education Policy of 1994. The communities have contributed their labour and building inputs found in their local environment. Communities where the community based Day Care Centres have been established have managed to struggle with the payment of the instructor’s honoraria and providing daily packed meals for their children despite their poverty and food insecurity. This is clear testimony that the people have the capacity to run pre-school education. However, the rural people of Malawi would benefit much if their contribution in pre-school education could be assisting in construction of pre-school classrooms rather than shouldering the responsibility of paying the instructors.
(d) Non-Governmental Organisations/private sector
The major limitation of NGOs in the field of pre-school education is that they serve specific areas chosen basically because of the basic aim of their mission. As for the private individuals and organisations, their main problem is lack of uniformity in both services and charges . Most of them are commercial men, women and organisations whose main interest could be profit maximisation.,
(2) Primary school sub-sector
The public -support and demand for basic education in Malawi is strong. This is evidenced by the readiness by communities and domestic organisations to invest in and contribute towards basic education as already stated in the foregoing sections. Families have shown readiness to supplement government provisions in teaching/learning materials in the primary school section. Similarly communities have wilfully contributed in various ways towards the construction and rehabilitation of classroom blocks and teacher houses in the primary school sub-sector; the financing and management of Early Childhood Care and Development and Adult Literacy Centres.
Private individuals and non-governmental organisations have come forward with force to invest in private pre-school playgroups, Primary schools and vocational/technical skills training schools to supplement government efforts, although there has not yet been thorough documentation of these.
Government of Malawi is also committed to achieving the national EFA goals and targets despite the weakness of the Malawi economy. Government inauguration of the Free Primary Education policy in 1995 and its consequent provision of 27% of the total annual national budget to the education sector have demonstrated this. Even with the education sector, the primary school sub-sector as has already been indicated, is given first priority.
The major strength of the Ministry of Education its support institution and stakeholder Ministries in the provision of basic education since 1990 has been their determination to forge ahead with the pursuance of the EFA goals despite the obvious odds. The State President boldly expressed this determination in 1994 when he declared Free Primary school Education. Once the determination was shown and sustained foreign and domestic organisation supported it.
Through such support, MANEB, MIE and Montfort Teachers College have benefited programmes aiming at strengthening and modernising their capacity Vis –a-vis contemporary needs in the provision of quality basic education.
The MOE Capacity to offer relevant teacher education both pre-service and in-service has been improved through donor- funded programmes ran by the Teachers’ Development Unit (TDU) which have included the MIITEP and MSSSP. However, the capacity of the teacher Training Colleges to offer courses relevant to the current needs of the society has remained weak throughout the decade. Local authorities have been non-functional since the change of government system in 1994. With the decentralisation process of the education system already under-way, it is expected that district assemblies and the Local Authorities will be given more say in the planning, execution and management of the basic education sub-sector. As for the private sector, their contribution has been more on the quantitative side than qualitative. Ministry of Education has failed to come up with timely measures to check the situation. Private individuals and organisations have responded positively to the political willingness to have them contribute freely towards the cause of Education provision, but most of them have ended up emphasising the commercial side of education enterprise at the expense of quality of services.
GENERAL ASSESSMENT OF THE PROGRESS
This chapter presents a synthesis of the conclusions that have emerged from the whole assessment exercise drawing on the "considered opinion" of key groups and individuals that have been involved in EFA. It is the basis for considering new policies and strategies for Education for All, as outlined in chapter four of the report.
(a) EXPANSION OF EARLY CHILDHOOD CARE AND DEVELOPMENT ACTIVITIES (ECCDA)
Access to pre-school education has risen from 1 per cent in 1994 to 23 per cent in 1999 but there is no officially endorsed record of the total number of pre-school playgroups/Day Care Centres. The general picture however shows that there are more pre-school playgroups in the urban area than in rural.
Government of Malawi accepts that Pre-school education is a key stage in the development of the child and his or her preparation for further educational endeavours but still relegates it when it comes to financing, payment of instructors and construction of teaching and learning infrastructure;
Ministry of Gender, Youth and Community Services, as the name itself testifies handles too many community issues to give deserving priority to Pre-school education. Since Pre School education is a key to a successful education future for the child, there is need to place Pre-school Education into an area where it is likely to receive its due significance. The other elements of ECCDA may still remain with Gender and the other stakeholder ministries.
There is no deliberate and officially established effort to ensure harnessing of efforts among stakeholder ministries of Education, Health, Gender and Agriculture in the Management of ECCDA.
No deliberate effort has been taken to encourage registration of all pre-school playgroups and Early Childhood Day Care Centres and create a database for enrolment in these schools/centres according to single-age groups.
ECCD centres do not consider it a very important part of their responsibility to offer the graduates a certificate of attendance as they proceed to primary school standard 1. Similarly parents do not consider it very necessary to ask for such a certificate from the ECCD centres just as Standard 1 teachers and primary school Heads are not keen to record on first entry into a school the ECCD background of pupils.
(7) LIMITED PRE-SCHOOLS LIMIT EARLY SPECIAL NEEDS IDENTIFICATION Shortage/scarcity and failure to afford Pre-school Playgroups/Child Day Care Centres in the rural areas and to the urban poor mitigates against early identification of children with special education needs.
(8) QUALITY OF INSTRUCTORS
In the public community based Day Care Centres, instruction is mostly given by economically disadvantaged and semi-literate women.
(9) COMMUNITY-BASED PRE-SCHOOLS MANAGED BY POOR AND MALNOURISHED PEOPLE
Communities, that are basically poor, struggle to manage and sustain Day Care Centres by paying the monthly honoraria of the instructor/s, and provide daily packed meal for the children. In the months when food shortage is acute in the country, the centres either experience low attendance or some temporarily close down.
(b) UNIVERSAL ACCESS TO, AND COMPLETION OF PRIMARY EDUCATION BY THE YEAR 2000.
The assessment has established that generally there is a high degree of access to primary school education to new entrants and this is currently pegged at 83.3 per cent for both sexes. However, the system still leaves 16.2 per cent of the official primary school-entrance-age-group not enrolled.
(2)PRIMARY SCHOOL ENROLMENT FOR GIRLS
It has been established that Gross and Net Enrolment Ratios for females have both risen. Gross Enrolment Ratio has risen by 65.2 per cent while Net Enrolment Ratio has risen by 58.4 per cent. In principle, from 1995 the primary school sub-sector has the capacity to accommodate all its primary school age girls thus fulfilling a necessary condition for universal primary school education for girls.
(3) UNIVERSAL PRIMARY EDUCATION
The assessment has established that Net Intake Rate for males declined by 35.6 per cent while that of females declined by 35.3 per cent. Girls are still topping boys in enrolment but with a margin, which is almost as narrow as that of 1990. But from 1995 to 1997 the proportion of pupils of the same age in Standard 1 is nose-diving, a development which if not checked quickly may pause serious pedagogical problems and continue affecting the efficiency of the system.
The assessment has established that Public Current Expenditure in primary education per pupil as percentage of GNP per capita has risen by 1.4 per cent. The highest level of commitment was shown in 1994 when government spent the equivalent of 11.0 per cent of GNP per every primary school pupil.
It has become repeatedly apparent in the assessment that a good number of the challenges besetting the primary school sector can not be eliminated by the injection of large sums of funds in the system alone for they originate from a certain neglected key stage of education. This neglected stage is the pre-school education sub-sector.
(6) TEACHER-PUPIL-RATIO (PTR)
The assessment has established that at the level of all teachers inclusive, pupil-teacher ratio has improved by 4.7 per cent. Pupil Qualified Teacher Ratio has improved by 7.5 per cent. At both unqualified teacher and qualified teacher levels Malawi Government has not yet achieved its officially established target for pupil-teacher ratio
(7) TEACHER-TRAINING CAPACITY LIMITED
The assessment has established that percentage of primary school teachers who are certified to teach according to national standards has stagnated at 81.4 per cent after some shakes between 1990 and 1997. Thus Malawi government has not made any progress in her efforts to upgrade the quality and expand the output of teachers through providing them with the necessary training to certify them to teach according to Malawi’s own standards.
(8) GOVERNMENT DOING FINE ON RECRUITING ACADEMICALLY QUALIFIED TEACHERS
The assessment has established that teachers with minimum academic qualification constitute 98.6 per cent of the whole teaching force (MOE, CTL, 1999). This implies that Government of Malawi is succeeding in fulfilling one of the necessary conditions for quality education.
(9) FALLING SURVIVAL RATE TO STANDARD 5.
The assessment has established that the survival rate to Standard 5 of males has declined by 22.7 per cent from 68.9 per cent in 1990 to 45.2 per cent in 1997. That of females has declined by 12 per cent from 55.6 per cent in 1990 to 43.6 per cent in 1997. This might probably be a sign of inherent problems to do with the primary school system which might be frustrating both pupils and parents.
(10) NO LEGAL BACKING FOR UNIVERSALISATION OF PRIMARY EDUCATION
The assessment has established that Primary School Education has been made free to all but there is no legal mechanism to compel families to send to and maintain all primary school age children in school.
(11) THE MANAGEMENT OF PIU AND EDMU
The assessment has established that donors have been generous enough in financing school construction and rehabilitation projects to cater for the physical capacity expansion needs of the primary school population. However, it seems the Project Implementation Unit (PIU) and Education Development Management Unit (EDMU) have had their own capacity, technical and logistical problems which reduced their ability to put this assistance to full and proper use, for the full benefit of the pupil.
(12)HIGH PUPIL-CLASSROOM RATIO
The assessment established that the sharp rise in enrolment in 1994 worsened pupil-classroom ratio to the level of 154 pupils per classroom. This forced schools to take makeshift classrooms and overlapping shifts. The development has become almost part of the primary education system and may, likely lead to pupils’ frustration with schooling.
(13) ACUTE DESK-SHORTAGE.
The assessment has established that there is an acute shortage of furniture for both pupils and teachers in the primary schools with almost 83-91% of pupils in the infant and junior sections sitting on the floor.
(14) LIMITED FACILITIES FOR SPECIAL NEEDS EDUCATION
The assessment has established that the percentage of primary school classrooms fit to accommodate pupils with special education needs is still small and the number of institutions to cater for those with severe physical disabilities is also small
(15) EDUCATION SOCIAL MOBILISATION CAMPAIGN FOR THE ORPHANS, STREET CHILDREN AND GIRLS WITH SEVERE SPECIAL EDUCATION NEEDS.
The assessment has established that social mobilisation campaigns have succeeded to sensitise the public on the importance of education and the value of educating the girl child. However, areas of orphans, Children out of school, girls with physical and learning disabilities and the intrinsic as opposed to the utilitarian value of education have been underplayed.
(16) POOR DAILY PUPIL CLASSROM ATTENDANCE
The assessment has established that there is still in general poor pupil classroom attendance in the primary school sub-sector.
(17) INADEQUATE TECHER- HOUSES AND MINIMAL SCHOOL- HEALTH.
The assessment has established that in every 100 teachers only 37 are provided with accommodation. Of course this does not consider areas where couples are both teachers. It is also established that the pupil-latrine ratio on average still stands at 65:1, only about 20% of the schools have safe water and none of the 315 primary education management zones has participated in health promotion workshops.
(18) FAULTY INSTRUCTIONAL MATERIALS- DISTRIBUTION -SYSTEM.
The assessment has established that there are anomalies in the distribution of teaching and learning materials involving the Supplies Unit and the District Education Offices. These anomalies bring about disparities in the availability of teaching and learning materials in schools.
(19) UNEVEN DISTRIBUTION OF TEACHERS
The assessment has established that there is a tendency for teachers to dodge teaching in the remote rural schools preferring either urban or semi-urban schools.
(20) THE PRIMARY EDUCATION ADVISOR’S PROFESSIONAL GRADE
The assessment has established that Primary Education Advisors are not substantively promoted to a higher post than that of school Teacher PT2/1 and live in the zones that apart from the cities are placed in rural areas with none of the city amenities.
(21) INADEQUATE SUPPORT FOR INSPECTORATE/ADVISORY SERVICES.
The assessment has established that Teacher- Inspector ratio stands at 218:1 and yet DEOs and Division Education Managers do not give Inspectorate, supervision and data collection and processing the financial support they deserve.
(22) GENDER ISSUES IN CURRICULUM REVIEWS.
The assessment has established that the primary school curriculum has undergone tremendous positive changes to accommodate contemporary needs, however, the curriculum still falls short of accommodating all currently relevant gender issues.
(23) CAPACITY OF EMIS LIMITED.
The assessment has established that the In standard 6, only 0.6 per cent reach desirable mastery level in English literacy skills.. The same is true with Divisional and District education offices as well as individual schools.
(24) UNEVEN DISTRIBUTION OF SCHOOLS.
The assessment has established that schools in the country are not evenly distributed.
(25) DECENTRALISATION POLICY AND STAFFING SITUATION.
The assessment has established that Divisional, district and zone education offices are still understaffed to carry out their duties efficiently especially in facilitation of the decentralisation policy.
(c ) IMPROVEMENT IN LEARNING ACHIEVEMENT
The assessment has established that measurement of achievement on lines of nationally defined learning competencies, as an exercise independent of classroom continuous assessment and national examinations, is a recent development that Malawi government did not take into account in its primary education policy plans for the decade 1990-2000.
(2) LITERACY ASSESSMENT IN JUNIOR PRIMARY
The assessment has established that the low performance in English at standard 4 is clear indication that an appropriate assessment of literacy in the junior primary school should be done in the dominant language of the locality of particular schools. Similarly, the low achievement in English literacy skills in Standard 6 may be an indication that the test items were not adapted enough to reflect the fact that the majority of Malawi pupils begin using English as a mode of instruction four years latter than elsewhere in the world.
The assessment has established that in standard 6, only 0.6 per cent reach desirable mastery level in English literacy skills.
(d) EXPANSION OF BASIC EDUCATION AND TRAINING IN OTHER ESSENTIAL SKILLS REQUIRED BY YOUTH AND ADULTS.
The assessment has established that the youth out of school constitute a group that is characterised by a wide diversity of interests and needs for which government alone cannot successfully provide programmes.
The assessment has established that there are five public Technical/Vocational Training Institutions and 26 private ones, run by church-related NGOs.
The assessment has established that the few available Technical/Vocational institutions lack the potential to massively harness the energies, enthusiasm and intellect of the youth to the contemporary critical needs of the Malawi society.
The assessment has established that both the public and NGO Technical/Vocational Skills Training Institutions are not well publicised nationally and have limited in-take capacities.
The assessment has established that programmes in the Technical/Vocational skills training institutions include rehabilitation of juveniles, community-based-non-formal non-institutional activities for self-employment in the informal sector and formal structured curricular teaching for government certification and employment in the formal sector.
The assessment has established that there is no data to indicate the exact numbers of the various categories of the youth that are to be reached by government programmes. There is also no official record indicating the number of the youths who have already been reached by the available programmes, neither is there any record of the number of those reached that are employed.
The assessment has established that the courses offered in both the public and NGO institutions are characterised by predominant absence of business management content relevant to Malawi-specific business conditions and failure to connect the programmes to money lending institutions to guarantee capital loans to the graduates.
The assessment has established that the national Youth council, a government organ responsible for the youth outside school has an all-encompassing, brilliant and relevant policy document, but the council lacks financial autonomy to meet the policy-goals.
The assessment has established that enrolment to the courses offered by the Technical/Vocational skills training institutions still follows traditional stereotyped modes of thinking that some courses are for men and others for women.
The assessment has established that there is lack of official clarification on where education for the youth ends and where adult education begins.
The assessment has established that Skills TTraining is not always translated into employment either self or formal. As a result there is high unemployment estimated at 145,000 job seekers competing for 15,000 to 35,000 job openings annually with the youth comprising the bulk of the unemployed.
The assessment has established that there is limited initiative to assess the demand for other marketable skills in the area of technical and vocational training to broaden the scope for establishing small businesses.
The assessment has established that post-graduation trainee-follow-up and post training services like refresher courses are rare resulting in reduced opportunities for gainful employment to the graduates.
The assessment has established that Field Supervisors of vocational programmes are often inadequately trained to successfully transfer skills to others.
(e) REDUCTION OF ADULT ILLITERACY RATE, ESPECIALLY THE DISPARITY BETWEEN MALE AND FEMALE ILLITERACY RATES.
The assessment established that there is still high illiteracy rate in Malawi whose root causes are the high population growth-rate that characterised Malawi’s population for a long time and a faulty formal primary school education system as indicated in primary education sections of the assessment.
The assessment established that the government does not adequately fund the National Adult Literacy Programme thereby making the performance of the NALP lower than expected.
The assessment established that lack of appreciation for gender equity in families continues to impede women from regular attendance and completion of Adult Literacy classes
The assessment established that the Adult Literacy Curriculum fails to address relevant and contemporary economic, social and political issues and so it frustrates students especially the male ones.
The assessment has established that female illiteracy rate continues to top that of men and yet there continues to be more female students than male in the Adult Literacy classes.
The assessment has established that men seem to shy away from mixed sex classes probably because they feel embarrassed when they perform poorly when compared with the female counterparts.
The assessment established that the age of the instructors and their level of literacy also matter to the adult learners’ completion of their courses. The more advanced the instructor is in the level of his or her own literacy and the closer he or she is in age to the students, the higher are the chances for retaining his or her class to completion.
The assessment established that unless early childhood education is enhanced and primary school education efficiency boosted, adult illiteracy rate would continue to be high.
The assessment has established that radio broadcasting to schools project is difficult to sustain according to the current national economic situation. Malawi Broadcasting Corporation, therefore, only offers general civic education programmes covering contemporary informal education needs for the general public. There are however, two exceptions: the national schools academic competition called Top Of The Class, primarily geared towards secondary school students but still of relevance to senior primary school students; and "Pamchenga" targeting the pre-school children.
The assessment has established that the content and presentation of the "Pamchenga Programme" does not conform to the basic requirements set by the national pre-schools curriculum. Lessons are in most cases a replica of Sunday-School classes
The assessment has established that Television Malawi opened in 1997 and has also made a good start in offering education programmes to the public in population, environment, agriculture, culture and civic issues. Pre-school programmes are also provided and these include "Nthawi Ya Wana" and "Kids Buzz" The pre-school programmes are however, predominantly urban and exotic in both coverage and content.
The assessment established that the public is mixed in its feelings towards Sex and Reproductive Health Education Programmes. Those in the conservative camp discredit them as not conforming to cultural values while those in the liberal camp state that it is better to empower the youth with survival knowledge than leaving them to perish due to ignorance.
The assessment has established that there is enough freedom for both the print and electronic media and theatre groups to educate the public, though those in the opposition Media feel the radio and Television are biased towards the ruling party when it comes to politically oriented civic issues. However the number of purely vernacular papers is too small to adequately sustain literacy levels of the rural poor and fairly educate the people on general issues.
The assessment has established that there are persistent media complaints that despite the available avenues of education for civic issues including health and the environment the majority of the population in Malawi seems not to change in their behaviour. The only exception to this is the positive response which in general people have given to Family Planning and Child Spacing which could be one of the major causes to the dropping down of population growth rate to 1.9 per cent.
The assessment has established that poverty is usually the main reason for peoples’ persistent involvement in undesirable behavioural traits like destruction of the environment. Government is however already on its way towards succeeding to reduce peoples poverty as has been exemplified by its introduction of MASAF programme in the socio-economic infrastructure sector and the Starter Pack Initiative in the Food Security area.
The assessment has established that there are only very few papers offering direct coverage of proactive formal basic education issues. Most of the papers handle formal basic education issues in the normal journalistic principle of catching that, which is newsworthy and non-stale.
This is the final section of the report. It aims at giving the conclusions from the assessment exercise regarding possible or necessary changes in policy and in modalities to advance more quickly and effectively towards Malawi’s EFA goals. It is also presenting selected examples of best practices and examines their implications for public policy and possible new partnerships.
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