Malawi gov’t faulted on Primary Curriculum Assessment Reform

Representatives of the Catholic Commission for Justice and Peace (CCJP) are faulting the Malawi government authorities for the hasty approach it took on the implementation of the Primary Curriculum Assessment Reform (PCAR) which they say is losing focus.

National Monitoring and Evaluation Officer for CCJP Paul Sakanda said during an interface meeting involving  Centre for Social Concern, Education Ministry and Members of Parliament that research it conducted in 12 selected districts across the country, has shown that a failure of well thought after PCAR is highly contributing to dwindling education standards in the country.

“The way it was designed it does not suit properly with our situation here in Malawi where pupil teacher ratio is high compared to the recommended one which is one teacher to 61 pupils. Another challenge is the when PCAR was introduced wasn’t adequate consultation on how this was supposed to be implemented by teachers in the country”, said Sakanda.

Eunice  Kazembe: Minister of Education
Eunice Kazembe: Minister of Education

He said another worrying development is that even some of the teachers themselves do not know how to implement it and consider it a burden on them because they have to prepare so many records in one day in a class that is already overburdened with students.

“It becomes a challenge for them to implement it effectively such that the teachers concentrated more on the records and not on the teaching processes themselves,” he said.

Sakanda pointed out that the other challenge is that there are some teachers that are not trained by government and were employed as untrained teachers but now that they have undergone the PCAR orientation, they consider themselves as trained and qualified.

“This is a challenge because due the lack of supervision these teachers are assumed to be trained when there is still need for their capacities to be build by the government”.

Sikanda also another contributing factor towards dwindling primary school education is the government’s failure to adhere to memorandum of understanding it signed with grants-aided schools whereby it is supposed to maintain such schools like paying for staff or subsidize in other areas.

“But government has not adhered to these MOUs which has became a challenge to the schools especially faith-based owned schools” said Sikanda.

However director for higher education at the Ministry of Education, Science and Technology, Professor Maluwa Banda said most of the concerns raised are currently being addressed saying  the government is in the process of reviewing the syllabi.

He said for example the standard 1 to standard 4 textbooks have already been revised.

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