Govt hails LGAP for improving education governance and learning outcomes in public schools

The Malawi Government has commended Local Government Accountability and Performance Project (LGAP) for contributing to the improvement of education governance and learning outcomes in public primary schools in the country.

Deputy Director for Basic Education in the Ministry of Education, Ellen Simango, made the remarks in Lilongwe on Tuesday during the lesson learning session on the Primary School Social Contracts on Learning Outcomes in Malawi.

Morley–We are impressed with the contribution LGAP is making towards improving education standards–Photo by Watipaso Mzungu, Nyasa Times

Under LGAP, the ministry has been implementing several interventions to improve education governance and education service delivery in public schools with technical and financial support from the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) and Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office (FCDO), formerly Department for International Development (DFID).

One such activity has been the strengthening of school governance structures to improve learning outcomes through facilitation of school-based social contracts.

School-based social contract was designed after it was discovered that there was little involvement of parents in supporting learning of their wards as in improving education standards in the public primary schools.

A cross-section of the participants to the lesson learning session on the Primary School Social Contracts on Learning Outcomes in Malawi–Photo by Watipaso Mzungu, Nyasa Times

Simango said utilization of school-based social contracts, in their respective primary schools, act as a catalyst in triggering community’s support and responsibility towards improved learning outcomes.

“The school-based social contracts bind both teachers and communities to hold each other accountable for learning outcomes as it contains commitments/obligations that each party must take for better service delivery. We implore more partners to build on these efforts and take our education governance system to desirable level of functionality so that education service delivery in Malawi is as vibrant as possible,” she said.

Simango expressed the ministry’s commitment to ensuring that schools are supported and have the initiative utilized accordingly.

She disclosed that the ministry has been ably supported in the establishment of web-based Teacher Performance Appraisal System in four pilot districts; provision of leadership training to head teachers in some districts, strengthening of education inspectorate in councils, facilitate efficient and equitable teacher development, and, among others, recategorization of rural hardship allowances.

To contribute to improvement of learning outcomes, LGAP worked with the District Education Networks to facilitate parent mobilization and development of school-based social contracts in 3, 847 out of 5, 612 public primary schools in the year 2020.

This represents 68.5 percent national coverage.

The contract is signed between a school and community, represented by school governance structures (School Management Committee, Parents Teacher Association, Mother Group).

The goal is to encourage schools and communities to work together as partners in education to find successful interventions and solutions.

As time has passed, the public primary schools have been implementing the social contracts they signed between the teaching staff and the community.

And as Simango stated, there have been a number of key lessons and experience in as far as social contract implementation and contribution towards improved learning outcomes in the primary schools are concerned.

“It is therefore paramount to have such a forum like this to share the experiences we have this far in the course of developing and implementing the social contracts in our various primary schools and districts. Here, we have stakeholders such as DEN representatives, school governance structures representatives and education technical staff and experts.

“The Ministry of Education is very committed to improving education standards in Malawi and we believe that school-based structures have a bigger role to play as per their establishment in the Education Act,” she narrated.

The British High Commission Human Development Team Leader and FCDO education advisor, Sabina Morley, said the development partners are impressed with the outcome of the project.

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