The European Union (EU) in Malawi on Wednesday launched a programme on improving secondary education in Malawi (ISEM) aimed at supporting government in addressing challenges affecting the sector.
Speaking during the launch at Chimteka community secondary school in Mchinji the EU ambassador to Malawi Marchel Gerrmann said the ISEM programme with a budget of 36 million euros has been designed to provide increased access to quality secondary education through a number of interventions.
“ISEM programme will include construction and rehabilitation of community secondary schools, teacher training, provision of teaching and learning materials, provision of bursaries and other support measures to girls and vulnerable students and strengthening of capacities for effective education at all levels,” he said.
Gerrmann said the education sector in the country faces numerous challenges among others, overcrowding in classrooms and poor conditions of school buildings.
“I have had an opportunity to visit some schools across the country to appreciate the conditions in which the youth of Malawi are being educated. I have witnessed students sitting on broken chairs, sharing few textbooks and lack of training for some teachers; the implementation of this programme will transform the 21 targeted schools,” he explained.
The EU ambassador also said EU’s investment in education is aimed at addressing broader challenges such as population growth, saying with the current population growth Malawi cannot sustain itself and risk regressing into poverty and increased dependency.
“This calls for increased efforts to curb the current population growth rate and education is one of the most efficient ways of responding to it. A girl who has finished secondary school will likely have children later and her children are more likely to lead a long and healthy life,” he added.
Minister of Education Science and Technology Emmanuel Fabiano said through ISEM programme schools will have improved laboratories libraries and teachers houses.
He said in recognition of the importance that education renders to the economic development of our country, government has developed the National Education Sector Plan which lays out strategies such as improving infrastructure in secondary schools.
“One of the three priority areas for the Secondary sub-sector is improvement of equitable access to secondary education. This entails constructing new infrastructure, and expanding and rehabilitating the existing ones.
“The coming in of this assistance from European Union, therefore, will assist in achieving this particular priority area,” he said.
Fabiano appealed to the community of Chimteka and other areas where similar projects will take place, including students of the schools, to develop a spirit of ownership and take proper care of the school infrastructure when it is completed.
“It is disheartening to learn that some irresponsible citizens are in the habit of vandalizing both school property and infrastructure as soon as contractors handover the projects to government,” he said.
21 schools will benefit from the ISEM programme which will be implemented in four years in 21 districts.Follow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :