Education minister Msaka calls for relevant secondary school curriculum

Minister of Education, Science and Technology Bright Msaka says it is high time Malawi reviewed its secondary school curriculum to ensure that learners are imparted with skills relevant to the modern world.

Msaka: Education Minister for review of curriculum

Speaking Monday in Mzuzu when he opened a regional stakeholder dialogue meeting for northern and central east education chapter, Msaka asked delegates to ensure that learners should start learning things that will make Malawi competitive against other countries.

“Let us consider the 21st century skills, where we deliberately develop an awareness of and proficiency in critical thinking and problem solving, collaboration and communication, creativity and imagination, digital literacy and other relevant skills,” he said.

Msaka observed that some things taught in secondary school over the years may not be relevant in this contemporary world.

“For instance, is the Pythagoras Theorem still relevant? I can’t even use it since [I studied it] but I’m still alive,” he wondered, sending delegates into laughter.

“In the past we were dissecting frogs and lizards. The world has transformed technologically and a leaner today might be required to fix a mobile phone, for instance,” he said.

Msaka said time has come for Malawi to take a serious look at the secondary school education and make both intellectual and financial investment in it.

The dialogue meeting was attended by the academia, traditional leaders, secondary school students and development partners, among others to review secondary education in Malawi in terms of enrollment, resourcing and curriculum, among other things.

UNICEF Malawi’s education specialist, Kimanzi Muthengi, noted that the country was enrolling many learners into primary school but few were proceeding to secondary school.

“While we have five million learners in primary school, we have about 400, 000 in secondary schools and about 300, 297 are in public schools. So these are worrying figures,” he said.

Muthengi said according to Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), education is a basic right that begins from early childhood education, therefore, one should enjoy that right up to the point he or she gets skills to go to work.

“But you find that when you don’t have a robust secondary education system, you don’t get to work. You continue being a manual labourer because that is what is on offer.

“So we are losing opportunities in technology, in developing new frontiers of employment such as sports and arts industries because of a constrained secondary system,” he said.

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Joseph Bob Kombo
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Joseph Bob Kombo

Those accusing the minister are missing the larger picture which the honourable is trying to portray. In my understanding the minister would want to challenge us that we can not answer the present challenges b using outdated knowledge. The current challenges such as climate change, global warming needs relevant approaches. The coming in of computers, cell phones etc needs a curriculum that will address such issues. The minister was not belittling anything but he wanted to make us open our eyes and move forward with time. With due respect this is my view on the matter

Dengu
Guest
Dengu

The Minister makes a good point about revising the curriculum to be more relevant but he, unfortunately, chose bad examples as has been commented on already by Dzambo. Deriding Maths always gets a laugh but those laughing are perpetuating the poor attitude that turns learners from a vital subject if engineers, scientists and numerate citizens are to educated. If you are not challenged to learn some of the basics, you are not going to have opportunity to go further with the subject.

Dzambo
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Dzambo

Irrelevant minister! Don’t you know that dissecting frogs is a basis for biological sciences? Do you mean we should no longer teach biology? Don’t you also know that pythagoras theorems are building blocks to mathematical sciences.

#DzukaniAmalawi
Guest
#DzukaniAmalawi

You have missed his point. The world has changed and continues to change. In the digital and Internet of Things (IoT) world the need for dissecting frogs and pythagoras theorems will be de-emphasised. In order for our children to survive in that environment productively a different curriculum is required to prepare them for the world of tomorrow. The reason why you are where you are now Dzambo is because the lessons you learnt in class are not taking you to where you want to be. See, you are stuck in limbo.

Malawi@Crossroads
Guest

Honourable Msaka you have just hit the nail on the head. This what we call visionary leadership of the present. If indeed the curriculum is revised in light of what you have articulated then Malawi will go somewhere with fully empowered children ready to tackle the 21st century world. Good thinking a bwana.

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