CSOs tell government to implement education commitments

Civil Society Education Coalition (CSEC) and its collaborating partners called upon the government to devise strategies for ensuring implementation of President Dr Lazarus Chakwera’s commitments to transforming the education sector.

CSEC Program Manager, Kisa Kumwenda, led civil society leaders and stakeholders in making the call during a dialogue meeting in Lilongwe, which sought to agree on steps needed to transform education to desired standards.

Chakwera, at the Transforming Education Summit (TES) on the sidelines of the 2022 United Nations General Assembly (UNGA), made a five-point commitment that entails the direction of education that would transform the country.

Among other things, Chakwera committed to sustaining 15 to 20 percent of national expenditure and four to six percent of GDP allocation to education, mandatory schooling up to secondary and ensuring 100 percent completion rate in primary and 100 percent transition rate to secondary and strengthening foundational skills, resourcing and making the curriculum more relevant and constructing more schools and teachers houses.

He also committed to scaling up of evidence based education technologies and enhance equitable access enabled with energy, connectivity and digital skills.

In his remarks, Kumwenda described such commitments as huge and urged President Chakwera and the government to seriously consider implementing them.

“We want to see the actualization of those commitments. We are tired of having commitments on paper that translate to nothing on the ground. As CSOs, we will hold government accountable on these commitments,” said Kumwenda.

He also called for strengthening of the education system in order to address systematic problems through supervision and monitoring of implementation of strategies, policies and commitments.

“Do we invest adequate funds in the right priorities? Do we deal with corruption and siphoning of funds meant for education?

“We should go beyond access and towards parameters that will enhance learning outcomes. We need graduates who think and have skills to transform this country,” he said.

Director of Open Distance and E-learning in the Ministry of Education, Dr Joshua Valeta, said the ministry has in place a systems approach to transforming education, which has priorities responding to the commitment statement by President Chakwera.

“We are also coming up with an overarching national face to face and digital education strategy. Out of that, we have a number of plans that will help us move forward,” Valeta said.

The dialogue meeting brought together CSO leaders, academicians, influencers and government representatives, including CSEC partners, namely: Save the Children, Forum for African Women Educationalists in Malawi, GAYO, ECDE Coalition and Oxfam.

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