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CHAPTER 12: Policy implications.

(a) Expansion of Early Childhood Care and Development Activities

(1) STKEHOLDER MINISTRIES TO URGENTLY RESOLVE THE ISSUE OF MANAGEMENT OF PRE-SCHOOL PLAYGROUPS:

It is an indisputable fact that pre-school education is a major solution to reducing late entry, repetition and, probably dropout rate in the primary school. In the long run pre-school education helps to reduce adult illiteracy. It is important therefore that urgent measures be put in place by the stakeholder ministries to ensure that the pre-school sub-sector is updated.

(2) Each Primary School to have one Pre-school class.

The assessment has established that pre-school playgroups are scanty in the rural areas. At the same time the assessment has also established that the private pre-school playgroups are charging exorbitant fees for the poor to manage. There is need therefore, to consider introducing a single community-based pre-school class in every primary school whose management may become part of the School Committee tasks.

(3) Strong support for the APPM

The survey has established that the Association of Pre-school Playgroups lacks support from the ministry of Gender and all the other stakeholder ministries in Early Child Care and Development in the pursuit of its goals. The operations of the APPM need to be revitalised in order to turn it into an organisation strong enough for co-ordinating ministries of Education, Health, Gender and Agriculture in their pre-school services towards the pre-school child. This can not materialise without strong commitment and support by all; government, NGOs, the civil society and private sector.

(4) Teacher Training Colleges to introduce Pre-school Teaching course

The assessment has found out that the APPM has a small training facility in Blantyre and the training of instructors is mainly dependent on donor funding which is not always easy to solicit. It is, therefore, necessary that training in pre-school teaching should be considered to become part of Teacher Training speciality in the Teacher Training.Colleges. The training content should include skills in the identification of children with special education needs.

(5) The national Pre-school Curriculum to become the basis for instruction

The assessment established that there is lack of uniform curriculum in the pre-schools across the country and that most of the pre-schools tend to overdo the cognitive part of instructions. It is important, therefore, that the Pre-school- Playgroup Curriculum that has just been developed should be circulated countrywide and measures taken to ensure that proprietors of pre-schools at least conform to the basic requirements of the curriculum.

(6) need to launch pre-school social mobilisation campaign

It has been established in the assessment that basically it is the families where one or both parents have full time employment that constitutes the bulk of those sending children to pre-schools. This seems to point at the fact that it is those who have some education and those who are economically well off who value and afford pre-school education. Since the majority of the population in Malawi is both illiterate and poor, it is necessary that some effort is put in sensitising the public on the importance of Pre-school education in the same way girls education has been dealt with.

(7) more donor support for the cause of pre-school education

The assessment has established how much government is striving to manage Free Primary School Education through donor aid. It has also been established how some of the challenges in the primary school sub-sector are connected to lack of strong and well managed pre-school education. It sounds necessary, therefore, that effort is put on wooing more co-operations from both bilateral and multilateral donors for the cause of the pre-school child.

(8) Instructor honoraria to be revisited

It has been established in the course of the assessment that the majority of the voluntary instructors in public Day Care Centres are women who are economically disadvantaged. There is need therefore to consider revisiting the amount of honoraria paid to the pre-school instructors as an incentive to woe many people into the service.

(9) establish basic minimum qualification for instructors

The voluntary nature of the contract the instructors are given in the public pre-schools or Day Care Centres makes the system continue depending on the desperate semi literate instructors. The private sector is also encouraged to follow suit. There is need to come up with a minimum academic qualification for the pre-school instructors if the quality of instruction there is to improve

(10) Capacity- building in information management in ECCDE

It has been established in the assessment that the area of Early Childhood Care and Development Activities, lacks proper system of data collection, preservation and use. It would be advisable, therefore, that a reliable and efficient Information Management Team be developed in the Ministry of Gender or in the APPM which should serve the primary school sector with relevant information for the improvement of education in the country.

(b) UNIVERSAL ACCESS TO, AND COMPLETION OF, PRIMARY EDUCATION BY THE YEAR 2000

  1. NEED FOR MECHANISMS FOR IMPROVING APPARENT INTAKE RATE
  2. 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. The difference between sexes in AIR is only 1.5 per cent with more females taken into the system than males. This testifies that government is succeeding in closing the gender gap in primary school enrolment. However, the system still leaves 16.2 per cent of the official primary school-entrance-age-group not enrolled. It is necessary, therefore that mechanisms be put in place to ensure that the 16.2 per cent of the official primary school-entrance-age group enrol in school without fail.

  3. PRIMARY SCHOOL ENROLMENT FOR GIRLS TO BE UNIVERSALISED

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 other words girl participation in primary education has more than doubled. Similarly the number of girls who enrol for primary education from the official primary school-age-group of 6-13 years old has more than doubled. 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. This makes it therefore, inevitable that measures that will cater for universal enrolment for girls in the primary school sub-sector be effected as soon as possible.

(3) ESTABLISH A LEGAL FRAMEWORK FOR 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. The primary school system is enrolling 35.6 per cent less boys and 35.3 per cent less girls, of the official primary school-entrance-age (6 year olds) than it enrolled in 1990. The system still leaves as many 74.5 per cent boys and 73 per cent girls of age 6 without enrolling for school when they were supposed to. Right from 1990 girls were ahead of boys in NIR. In 1995, following the inauguration of the FPE, the gender gap between boys and girls grew up to 9.5 per cent in favor of girls. But the development between 1995 and 1997 seem to point towards a return to the 1990 scenario. Girls are still topping boys in enrolment but with a margin, which is almost as narrow as that of 1990. Between 1990 and 1995 the proportion of pupils of the same age (6) in Standard 1 was becoming higher and higher, a positive development pedagogically. 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. Thus it is important that legal framework for compelling parents to enroll their children to school once they reach the age of 6 is put in place.

  1. GOVERNMENT TO INRODUCE AND ABIDE BY TOUGH FISCAL POLICIES WITH REGARD TO FUNDS ALLOCATED TO PRIMARY SCHOOL EDUCATION
  2. 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 It has moved from 7.6 per cent in 1990 to 11.0 per cent in 1994, just to drop down to 9.0 per cent. Government of Malawi is committed to investing in the Primary school education. The highest level of commitment was show in 1994 when government spent the equivalent of 11.0 per cent of GNP per every primary school pupil. This commitment however, declined by 2 per cent between 1995 and 1997.Considering that the current Net Enrolment in the primary school is as high as 90 per cent (GOM, FPE, 1998), devoting 9.0 per cent equivalent of GNP per capita per pupil is still a sign of great commitment. It is necessary therefore that government should consider putting in effect and abide by strict fiscal policies regarding proper use of funds allocated to primary education as a sub-sector of education which is receiving priority number 1 in public current expenditure.

  3. GOVERNMENT TO CONSIDER REDUCING THE NUMBER OF PRIMARY SCHOOL YEARS SO AS TO DIVERT FUNDS SAVED TO PRE-SCHOOL EDUCATION:

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. This is why it is considered important to suggest that government considers in the long run to reduce the number of primary school years from 8 to 7 and divert the saved funds to a humble beginning of nation wide well organised pre-school education system.

(6) MAKE THE TEACHING CAREER ATTRACTIVE AND PALATABLE

The assessment has established that at the level of all teachers inclusive, pupil-teacher ratio has improved by 4.7 per cent. It stood at 64:1 in 1990, rose to 68:1 in 1994 and lowered down to 61.1 in 1997. Pupil Qualified Teacher Ratio has improved by 7.5 per cent moving from 80:1 in 1990 to 74:1 in 1997. However, it became worse in 1995 when it rose to 108:1. This is explained by the influx of pupils into the system following the inauguration of the FPE policy. Thus at both unqualified teacher and qualified teacher levels Malawi Government has not yet achieved its officially established target for pupil-teacher ratio. Comparatively however, the situation is much better at the level of unqualified teacher-pupil ratio that is just above the official norm by 1.1 pupils per teacher. At the level of qualified teacher-pupil ratio however, the situation is still grim, as there are still 14.1 more pupils per teacher to reach the officially required target of 60.1. This is why it sounds necessary that more effort be devoted to making the teaching career as attractive as possible to the young school leavers so that they do not join it out of desperation for employment but out of interest and expectation of job satisfaction. The same would assist checking on high attrition rate for teachers and ensure that the limited numbers available are putting their expertise to its optimum use.

(7) GOVERNMENT TO PUT IN PLACE TEACHER-RECRUITMENT POLICIES THAT RESPECT THE SPECIALITY OF TEACHING AS A PROFESSION.

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. Today the primary school system still continues utilising 18.6 per cent of its teaching force that is not certified to teach according to national standards. However, the percentage of those certified outweighs that of the uncertified by far and at the same time it is possible that even among the uncertified some may have already acquired equivalent pedagogical skills through professional experience. Nevertheless, it is important that government puts and abide by measures that will respect the teaching career as a profession that one can only join after at least receiving standard basic orientation if not full training.

(8) GOVERNMENT TO INSTITUTE SERIOUS PENALTIES FOR THOSE WHO USE FAKE ACADEMIC QUALIFICATIONS WHEN JOINING THE TEACHING PROFESSION

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. Thus it is necessary that to safeguard this positive achievement, government should consider instituting serious penalties to those who sometimes cheat concerning their academic credentials as they join the teaching profession.

(9) GOVERNMENT TO CONTINUE HARNESSING MORE DONOR COOPERATION IN AREAS OF EDUCATION RESEARCH AIMED AT JUNIOUR PRIMARY SCHOOL

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. The trends for both male and female survival rates show a start with steep rise between 1990 and 1995 followed by a steep fall beginning 1995. The inauguration of the FPE policy in 1994 and its consequent people’s excitement still remains the available explanation behind the high rates in 1995. In general people responded positively towards the inauguration of the FPE policy but they seem to be steadily losing the zeal and interest in primary education. This might probably be a sign of inherent problems to do with the primary school system which might be frustrating both pupils and parents. It is necessary therefore that government continue to harness more co-operation from donors for research into the junior primary school section to identify the root causes of this low retention rate when in fact education is tuition free.

(10) LEGAL BACKING FOR UNIVERSALISATION OF PRIMARY EDUCATION

The assessment has established that Primary School Education has been made free to all but there is still no legal mechanism to compel families to send to and maintain all primary school age children in school. This makes the system to continue maintaining relatively high levels of dropouts and non-attendants. It is therefore necessary that government put in place some legal backing for the Free Primary Education Policy to translate into universal attendance.

(11) REORGANISE THE MANAGEMENT OF PIU AND EDMU TO ENHANCE EFFICIENCY.

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. It therefore necessary that government should consider reorganising the operational management of the two units with an ultimate aim of improving their efficiency and productivity.

(12) GOVERNMENT TO CONTINUE MOBILISING DONOR AND COMMUNITY SUPPORT IN CLASSROOM CONSTRUCTION PROJECTS.

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. The current situation is that on average the pupil classroom ratio is at 1:92 and 23% of these classrooms are used for overlapping shifts. It is necessary therefore that government should continue mobilising both donor and community support in the construction of classrooms.

(13) COMMUNITIES TO BE MOBILISED INTO COMMUNITY-BASED DESK MANUFACTURING PROJECTS

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. In view of the gravity of the need and the multiplicity of other needs in the primary school sub-sector; it is considered necessary that government introduces Community-Based Desk Manufacturing Projects. In these projects, communities will be contributing timber/planks and skilled labour (carpenters) and government will be paying for the inputs for the final production of desks. Or alternatively, government should adopt a system of cement-block desks, which should be costed together with the total cost of completing one classroom. The advantage with such type of desks would be their durability.

(14) INCREASED COMMITMENT TO INTEGRATED 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. It is therefore necessary that stakeholders in education increase their commitment to the policy of integrated education provision between the normal and special needs education children in all its educational policy plans.

(15) GOVERNMENT TO LAUNCH EDUCATION SOCIAL MOBILISATION CAMPAIGN FOR THE ORPHANS, STREET CHILDREN.

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. It is important therefore that government should consider launching further education Social Mobilisation Campaign targeting the (HIV/AIDS) orphans street children/youth, girls with physical learning disabilities and highlighting the importance of education in improving the mind rather for employment.

(16) GOVERNMENT TO PUT MEASURES TO ENSURE PROMOTION OF DAILY PUPIL CLASSROOM ATTENDANCE

The assessment has established that there is still in general poor pupil classroom attendance in the primary school sub-sector. This poor pupil classroom attendance is mainly associated with domestic chores. It is important therefore that to combat this negative trend, government should consider putting measures that will ensure that parents take education as number one priority among the social provisions to their children.

(17) GOVERNMENT TO PROMOTE COMMUNITY-BASED TECHER HOUSE CONSTRUCTION AND SCHOOL-HEALTH PROGRAMMES

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.

It is necessary therefore that government should consider promoting the already existent self-help spirit amidst the Malawi communities in order to construct as many teacher houses and toilets as possible.

(18) GOVERNMENT TO CONSIDER TECHER DEVELOPMENT CENTRES TO BECOME DISTRIBUTION POINTS FOR TEACHING/LEARNING MATERIALS.

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. It is therefore advisable that government considers transferring the responsibility of procuring and distributing instructional materials to the TDCs. The move will reduce degree of wastage and at the same time it is inline with decentralisation policy.

(19) GOVERNMENT TO CONSIDER INTRODUCING MONTHLY REWARD FOR TEACHERS IN REMOTE RURAL SCHOOLS.

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. The major reason seems to be the absence in the remote rural areas of amenities easily found in urban centres. It is therefore advisable to government to consider conferring some sort of compensatory top-up allowance to the monthly package of teachers teaching in these remote rural schools if the MOE is to succeed to maintain fair distribution of teachers.

(20) GOVERNMENT TO IMPROVE PROFESSIONAL STATUS OF PRIMARY EDUCATION ADVISORS

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. It is necessary therefore that their professional grade in substantively raised to something above the normal school head PT2/1 grade. This will not only boost their morale but also bring some respect from the teachers they supervise and advise.

(21) CONSIDER INCREASING SUPPORT FOR EDUCATION 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. It is important therefore that efforts are made towards increasing the support given to education advisory services in order to prepare for thorough education quality control and monitoring mechanism.

(22) CONTINUE PROMOTING GENDER EQUITY 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. It is therefore necessary that in any forthcoming curriculum reviews gender issues are given top priority.

(23) PROMOTE CAPACITY BUILDING IN EDUCATION MANAGEMENT INFORMATION SYSTEMS

The assessment has established that the MOE, EMIS section still lacks the required capacity to serve MOE information needs. The same is true with Divisional and District education offices as well as individual schools. It is advisable therefore that strategies for urgent capacity building in Education Management Information Systems (EMIS) are instituted at all levels of education management: Central, Division, District, TDC and the school itself.

(24) SPEED UP SCHOOL MAPPING EXERCISE.

The assessment has established that schools in the country are not evenly distributed. It is necessary therefore that the school mapping exercise currently on pilot be speeded up to ensure that any future school establishments should benefit the areas in great need.

(25) FACILITATE SUFFICIENT STAFFING FOR EDUCATIONAL OFFICES TO FACILITATE DECENTRALISATION

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. It is therefore necessary that divisional, district, and zone education offices are sufficiently staffed in all departments.

(c ) IMPROVEMENT IN LEARNING ACHIEVEMENT

  1. GOVERNMENT TO ESTABLISH NATIONAL BASIC LEARNING COMPETENCIES
  2. 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. It is therefore necessary that Malawi Government should establish basic learning competencies at each level of the education system upon which internal assessment of the achievements of the pupils/students can be based.

    (2) GOVERNMENT TO PUT GUIDELINES ON 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. This is to be inline with the national policy on medium of instruction in the junior primary school section, which recommends teaching in the dominant local language of the school’s catchment area. Similarly the low level of achievement in Standard 6 English literacy skills may also be an indication that the test items were not adapted 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. It is necessary, therefore, that Malawi Government should establish strategies on how assessment of literacy can best be conducted in the Junior Primary bearing in mind the national policy on medium of instruction and that there are at least five major languages used as medium of instruction before standard 5.

  3. REVISIT STANDARD 5AND 6 ENGLISH TEACHING STRATEGIES
  4. The assessment has established that in standard 6, only 0.6 per cent reach desirable mastery level in English literacy skills. It is necessary therefore that primary school Head teachers allocate to standards 5 and 6 the best English language teachers to create a sound English literacy background for the last two standards of primary school and beyond.

    (d) EXPANSION OF BASIC EDUCATION AND TRAINING IN OTHER ESSENTIAL SKILLS REQUIRED BY THE YOUTH AND ADULTS.

    (1) CREATION OF VIABLE AND RELEVANT YOUTH TRAINING MACHINERY

    The assessment has established that the needs of the Youth-Out-of School and their associated adults are so diverse that government alone can not afford to address effectively. There is need therefore that funds be identified from both bilateral and multilateral donors, the civil society and non-governmental organisations for the establishment of a Youth Technical/Vocational Skills Training machinery that will massively harness the energies, intellect, and enthusiasm of the youth into the critical contemporary needs of nation.

  5. EXPANSION AND PUBLICITY OF TECHNICAL/VOCATIONAL SKILLS TRAINIG INSTITUTIONS
  6. The assessment has established that public Technical/vocational Skills Training Institutions are limited in number. The other institutions run by churches/mosques or church-related organisations have small annual intake-capacity. Both the public and private institutions are not widely publicised. It is, therefore necessary that consideration should be taken to expand access to these institutions and, through organisations like TEVETand the Youth Council of Malawi, efforts should be made to promote the institutions’ publicity.

  7. YOUTH INFORMATION MANAGEMENT SYSTEM TO BE ESTABLISHED
  8. The assessment has established that there is so far no officially organised data on the exact numbers of Out-Of-School-Youth in their various categories. There are also no consolidated records on how many of these youths are actually reached by both government and the private institutions. It is even not clear as to how many of those trained in a year by the available institutions get employed either on self-employment basis or in formal employment. There is need, therefore, to consider building capacity for research in the ministry of Gender or in the Youth Council, to address these needs and create database for everyday use and future references.

  9. PERIODIC CURRICULUM REVIEW IN THE TECHNICAL/VOCATIONAL SKILLS TRAINING AREA
  10. It has been established that both public and private Technical/Vocational Skills Training institutions lack business management content relevant to local business conditions. It has also been established that courses offered in these institutions, fail to introduce the trainees to the world of the money-lending organisations. It may be necessary, therefore, to consider establishing the minimum life span of the teaching curriculum in this area, to work as a guarantee for timely curriculum reviews.

  11. FINANCIAL EMPOWERMENT OF THE NATIONAL YOUTH COUNCIL
  12. The assessment has established that the National Youth Council programmes are often compromised by priorities of the mother ministry of Gender. As a result, the council delays or even fails to fulfil its goals It may be necessary for government to consider turning the National Youth Council into a financially autonomous parastatal.

  13. PROMOTE GENDER EQUITY IN TECHNICAL/VOCATIONAL SKILLS TRAINING
  14. Technical/Vocational Skills Training courses still enrol people on the traditional belief that some jobs are men-oriented while others are women-oriented. It sounds necessary, therefore, that efforts should be made to extend gender equity campaign to this area.

  15. QUALITY OF VOCATIONAL SKILLS FIELD- SUPERVISORS TO BE IMPROVED.

It has been established in the assessment that Field Supervisors for vocational programmes especially for the private Vocational Institutions, are often not well trained to transfer skills to others. It is important, therefore, that In-Service training facilities for these supervisors are put in place to update their knowledge and skills.

(e) REDUCTION OF THE ADULT ILLITERACY RATE, ESPECIALLY THE DISPARITY BETWEEN MALE AND FEMALE ILLITERACCY RATES.

(1) FOSTER POLICIES THAT WILL REDUCE POPULATION GROWTH RATE EVEN FURTHER

The assessment has established that there is still high illiteracy rate in Malawi caused by high population growth rate, neglected pre-school education and faulty primary school system. It has also been established that government is already pursuing policies aimed at minimizing these challenges. It is, therefore, recommended that continued efforts be made in pursuing policies aimed at reducing the population growth rate even more. Small pre-school and primary school age population will enable government to improve education provision to these two age-groups with less financial stress than now.

  1. MASS LITERACY CAMPAIGN FOR BOTH THE YOUTH AND ADULTS TO BE INTENSIFIED.

It has been established in the assessment that the illiterate population comprises both young people who either dropped from school or never attended school at all and adults. It is necessary therefore, that consideration is taken for launching intensive mass literacy campaign aimed at both young people who have not attended school and the adults.

  1. ORGANISATIONS AND FIRMS THAT EMPLOY LARGE NUMBERS OF ILLITERATE PEOPLE TO PLAY A ROLE IN REDUCING ILLITERACY.
  2. The assessment has established that there are firms and organizations that employ large numbers of illiterate people. These firms include tobacco, tea, coffee and sugar estates. These employees spend most of their time on the chores of the estates and so have little time to attend literacy schools. It is advisable, therefore, that an active policy is put in place to deal with mobilizing these firms and organizations to contribute towards the cause of literacy and ensure that their employees are also provided with Adult Literacy facilities at their place of work.

  3. FUNDING FOR THE ADULT LITERACY PROGRAMME TO BE ADJUSTED UPWARDS.

The assessment has established that the National Adult Literacy Programme is not sufficiently funded. The insufficient funding hampers the performance of the NALP. The National Adult Literacy Programme for instance fails to train its instructors on time and fails to improve their working conditions resulting in Instructor annual dropout of 13 per cent. It is, therefore, necessary that funding towards the NALP should be increased so that the NALP successfully delivers.

(5) ADULT LITERACY CURRICULUM REVIEW TO BE FACILITATED

The assessment has established that the Adult Literacy curriculum fails to address relevant and contemporary economic, social and political interests of the individual learners. As such the curriculum frustrates the students especially the male ones. It is advisable, therefore, therefore, that curriculum review in the Adult Literacy sub-sector be facilitated. The reviewed curriculum should also consider creating relationship between the primary school and adult literacy so as to facilitate continuation of studies into the primary school by those ambitious adults.

(6) GENDER EQUITY CAMPAIGNS TO BE PROMOTED EVEN FURTHER.

The assessment has established that female illiteracy rate still tops that of males. The female illiteracy rate is 66 per cent while that of males is 34 per cent. The female illiteracy rate continues to be that high when more women have continued to enroll for literacy classes than men. It is argued that despite high enrolment more women are not able to complete classes because they do most of the domestic chores and rarely find time to continue attending classes. This is why it is necessary that gender equity campaign especially to the rural masses be promoted even further than is the situation at present, to empower men with the understanding that the woman is an equal individual to them and needs to be given an opportunity to learn.

(7) NEED TO INTRODUCE SEPARATE MALE-FEMALE CLASS SYSTEM IN ADULT LITERACY EDUCATION.

The assessment has established that men seem to shy off from mixed male-female classes probably because they feel embarrassed when they under perform when compared to the women. It is therefore suggested that a system of separate classrooms for males and females be introduced to encourage free atmosphere for learning.

(8) MINIMUM-AGE AND ACADEMIC-QUALIFICATION FOR ADULT LITERACY INSTRUCTORS TO BE REVISITED.

The assessment has established that adults who are being taught by an instructor who is below their age and fails to appreciate their interests and values are likely going to drop out of the classes earlier than normal. Similarly, adults who are being taught by an instructor who seems to be barely literate himself or herself, are also likely to develop frustration earlier than usual. These two factors may be contributory to high dropout rate in Adult Literacy education. It is, therefore, necessary that desirable minimum age and academic qualification for Adult Literacy Instructors be established to ensure that the right staff does the work and dropout rate is minimized.

  1. PROMOTE IMPROVEMENTS IN THE PRE-SCHOOL AND PRIMARY SCHOOL SUB-SECTORS.
  2. The assessment has established that the high national illiteracy rate is partly caused by the faults inherent in the pre-school and primary school. It is, therefore, advisable that efforts to improve the two sub-sectors be promoted even further in order to create a good basis for increased adult literacy levels.

  3. EDUCATION OF THE YOUTH AND CHILDREN OUT OF SCHOOL TO BE PROMOTED.
  4. The assessment has also established that a faulty and neglected system of Out of School Youth and Children Education system is contributory to high adult illiteracy rate. It is therefore, advisable that more effort is put on improving education of the youth and children out of school if illiteracy levels are to go down.

  5. ADULT LITERACY PROGRAMME TO BE ATTACHED TO VOCATIONAL SKILLS.
  6. The assessment has established that pedagogically prospects for adult literacy per se are not encouraging because learners are not able to use their newly acquired skills productively and retain them. It has been suggested that learners can easily retain their skills if literacy lessons are combined with the teaching of vocational skills leading to prospects of employment be it self or formal employment. It is advisable therefore, that an adult literacy programme that should incorporate vocational skills training is devised.

  7. REPRESENTATIVES OF LEARNERS TO BE INVOLVED WHEN DEVELOPING AN ADULT LITERACY CURRICULUM.
  8. The assessment has also established that insufficient participation of learners in drawing up their learning programme may in some cases be an obstacle to successful learning. It might be necessary, therefore, to deliberately involve learners in articulating their learning needs and allow the learners to participate in the designing of their programme.

  9. COOPERATION AND COLLABORATION BETWEEN THE CENTRE FOR LITERACY AND ADULT EDUCATION AND OTHER AGENCIES.

The assessment has established that there are other organizations that are also involved in the work of providing literacy education to adults. These mainly fall in the Non Governmental Organizations category. In the 1990-2000 decade, there has been very little information sharing between such organizations and the Center for Literacy and Adult Education. It is important therefore, that cooperation with these organizations is sought so as to create room for frequent information sharing between the two sides in order that adult literacy education is improved.

(14) GOVERNMENT TO ENSURE THAT THE NATIONAL STATISTIC OFFICE RECOGNISES NALP GRADUATES TO BE LITERATE CITIZENS.

It has been established that despite the commendable job done by the NALP in turning so many people literate, the National Statistic Office does not count these NALP graduates as literate people as the NSO conducts national population census. This continues to give false and negative signals on Malawi’s illiteracy rates and frustrates NALP’s efforts. It is therefore, necessary that government recommends that in the population census to follow, those NALP graduates declared literate be considered so.

(f) INCREASED ACQUISITION BY INDIVIDUALS AND FAMILIES OF THE KNOWLEDGE, SKILLS AND VALUES REQUIRED FOR BETTER LIVING, MADE AVAILABLE THROUGH ALL EDUCATION CHANNELS.

  1. RADIO TRANSMISSION FOR REMOTE RURAL AREAS TO BE IMPROVED.

It has been established in the assessment that since the coming of multi-party governance in Malawi in 1994, there is freedom of the press. There are more radio stations and newspapers than in the one-party leadership era. However there are still some remote rural areas where radio transmission is still a problem. Similarly, the TV coverage is still predominantly urban. It is necessary, therefore, that radio transmission capacity for remote rural areas in districts like Mchinji, Chitipa and Nsanje be improved to ensure that all people who have radios should be able to benefit fully from the radio programmes.

(2) TVM COVERAGE TO EXTEND TO ALL RURAL AREAS.

Following the findings in (1), there is also need to consider continuing seeking donor co-operation for extending television coverage capacity to include all rural areas as soon as possible.

(3) PROMOTE COMPETITION IN TELEVISION SETS’ SALES

Following the finding in (1) there is also need to promote trade policies conducive to making Television Sets relatively more affordable than now to enable the rural mass to partake in the vast and valuable education programmes transmitted through the TV.

(4) IMPROVE RADIO AND TVM PRE-SCHOOL PROGRAMMES.

Following the observation in (1) Television Malawi, MBC APPM, Ministry of Gender and Education need to consult with one another to make pre-school programmes on the radio and TV more malawian than exotic.

(5) PROMOTE CIVIC EDUCATION TO THE CONSERVATIVE ENCLAVES OF THE SOCIETY

The assessment has established that there is still a considerable part of the population in Malawi that is not comfortable with the way Reproductive Health and HIV/AIDS education are being conducted both on the radio and in public theatre groups. This conservative camp is more concerned about cultural values than consequences of ignorance and its consequent undesirable behaviour by the youth and the public at large. It is necessary therefore that the existing NGO and donor interest in Reproductive Health Management is mobilised even more with special attention paid to the conservative enclaves of the Malawi society.

(6) THE PRIVATE SECTOR TO BE ENCOURAGED TO DEVELOP NON-PARTISAN NEWSPAPERS AND MAGAZINES IN THE FIVE MAJOR VERNACULAR LANGUAGES

The assessment has established that there is only one newspaper that features its news in purely vernacular language and that this paper is basically concerned with presenting a positive image of the government of the day. This newspaper is "Boma Lathu". The vernacular sections of the other regular newspapers are more often partisan than not. It is, therefore, important that the private sector is encouraged to invest in non-partisan regional and district/s newspapers that will be written in the dominant vernacular language of the region or district/s. This will ensure that important print news is as well circulated as the radio news.

(7) GOVERNMENT TO CONTINUE SEEKING REALISTIC AND COST-EFFECTIVE MEASURES FOR ALLEVIATING THE POVERTY OF THE MAJORITY MALAWIANS.

The assessment has established that despite vigorous civic education to the public on issues of conservation of the environment and adoption of safe- health behavioural patterns especially concerning HIV/AIDS, peoples’ behaviour is not changing much. The major reason for this resistance to change seems to be poverty. Thus why the assessment feels it befitting to advise government to continue seeking realistic and cost-effective measures for gradually alleviating the peoples’ poverty.

END


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