Education Expertise Development Foundation (EEDF), a non-profit making Malawian Non-Governmental Organization (NGO) that contributes to the provision of quality basic education, has underscored community participation as a key element to improving quality of education in the country.
Speaking on Monday during the opening of the two-day workshop on School Improvement Plan (SIP) and Community Involvement for community and school leaders in Mangochi district, EEDF director Robert Mponela said community leaders have a pivotal role to play in the education sector as far as quality of education and school development are concerned.
“EEDF’s work supports the implementation of the National Education Sector Plan (NESP) with the purpose of improving the lives of vulnerable and underprivileged children and youths in Malawi.
“But this mission and the overall goal of improving quality of basic education in Malawi, requires active community participation. For example, communities should be involved in school development and support their children to remain in school,” said Mponela.
Held at Boma Teacher Development Centre (TDC), the SIP and Community Involvement trainings drew over 70 participants from Chimwala, Nansenga and Changali Community Day Secondary Schools (CDSSs) where EEDF is implementing a project called Star School in partnership with Edukans Foundation and funding from the MasterCard Foundation.
The Star School model for secondary education seeks to facilitate transition and retention of vulnerable students, especially girls, and help improve educational outcomes by improving quality of teaching and learning environment.
The model focuses on the following strategic pillars: learning and teaching environment; school Management; parents and community involvement and promotion of leadership skills in areas of Comprehensive Sexuality Education (CSE), Gender Responsive Pedagogy (GRP) and Active Teaching and Learning methodologies.
However, Mponela said many children in Malawi (especially girls) do not complete their secondary education due to factors such as long distance to and from school, teen pregnancies, child marriage, poor learning environment and lack of education resources.
“Community members have solutions to some of the challenges that are contributing to poor schooling of Malawian children, girls in particular. For example, parents should discourage marriage of their underage children and participate in school development in order to
respond the needs of the schools,” said Mponela.
Currently, EEDF is implementing the Star School in 16 CDSSs, including the three in Mangochi.