Govt urged to diversify and broaden funding base for education sector

Renowned education activist and executive director of the Civil Society Education Coalition (CSEC), Benedicto Kondowe, has urged the Malawi Government to devise more innovative models for financing its education sector.

Kondowe has suggested the establishment of Public Private Partnerships (PPPs), utilizing diaspora support and introducing a levy as some of the models the government can use to broaden its funding base.

He noted that financing education through the traditional models of budgetary and donor support cannot meaningfully address the numerous challenges affecting education in the country.

Benedicto Kondowe addressing the stakeholders

The activist was speaking over the weekend at Mponela in Dowa during an interface meeting with members of Parliament (MPs) belonging to the Parliamentary Committee on Education and officials from ministries of finance and education and other education stakeholders.

Some of the stakeholders to the meeting

The meeting was jointly organized by CSEC, ActionAid Malawi, Oxfam Malawi and other civil society organizations (CSOs) and was aimed at presenting to the stakeholders an analysis of the 2021/2022 education budget.

Kondowe said the innovative financing models would ensure that the meagre resources provided for education through the national budget, are well complimented.

“So, for instance, we would have PPP arrangements through the Public Private Partnership Commission that would ensure there are specific proportions of resources that companies contribute towards public services. Government would then be able to determine what percentage of those resources should be committed to the education sector,” said Kondowe.

He added that authorities should also consider appealing for support specifically towards education from Malawians living in diaspora, saying countries such as South Africa and Botswana have benefited a lot from that initiative.

He further said there is a need to introduce an education levy which should carter for what he termed as “all pressing issues” in the education sector.

“Otherwise, the current TEVET levy is strictly looking at just one component of education which is skills development. We need an education levy that can be used for any other subsectors in education. It could be, for instance, subsectors such as Early Childhood Development, among many others,” said Kondowe.

Executive director for ActionAid Malawi, Assan Golowa, concurred with Kondowe, adding that government should also be vigilant in collecting more taxes from multinational companies to finance education.

According to Golowa, Malawi is losing about 78 million dollars every year in uncollected taxes from those multinational companies.

“Government can do better. That is a lot of money which can benefit the country including our troubled education sector. As civil society, we will continue advocating for this to ensure that standards are improved in the education sector for the benefit of learners and teachers,” he said.

Chairperson of the Parliamentary Committee on Education, Brainex Kaise, commended the CSOs for the interface meeting, saying it has created a strong partnership which will be used to lobby for the realization of the pertinent suggestions the CSOs have raised.

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