Malawi needs transformative civic education – NICE

After over 20 years of civic education activities on different fields by different stakeholders in the country, Malawi still has problems of transparency, accountability and irresponsibility in her society, National Initiative for Civic Education (NICE) has revealed.

Ollen Mwalubunju- Nice Executive Director: we would like to see the type of civic education that is transformative

The public trust has attributed the situation to ineffectiveness of the civic education that has been done in the country, saying it has not been transformative.

In his opening remarks at a consultation meeting on the Draft Civic Education Policy held in Lilongwe Thursday, NICE Executive Director, Ollen Mwalubunju, said the country’s civic education has been ineffective in the absence ofa policy on the same.

“As NICE, we would like to see the type of civic education that is transformative, that can provide guidance and direction, and that will see the population take part in public life,” said Mwalubunju.

The Ministry of Civic Education, Culture and Community Development is in the process of formulating a Civic Education Policy to guide and coordinate all civic education activities in the country.

All along, Malawi did not have a policy on civic education. However, the country’s Constitution, under the Bill of Rights, as well as Malawi’s partnership into various international treaties, formed basis and framework for civic education activities in the absence of the policy, according to Mwalubunju.

He explained that civic education conducted by the country’s stakeholders has largely dwelton providing information and knowledge, therefore not effective in transformingMalawians into responsible citizens.

As a result, said the executive director, the country still has a number of citizensthat are not accountable, not transparent and irresponsible.

Mwalubunju added that without a policy in place, civic education activities have lacked direction and coordination among other irregularities.

The Head of Civic Education in the ministry, Dalitso Chikwembani, said once completed, the policy document will provide framework for any civic education activities.

“Without a policy, coordination and collaboration are difficult,”he said.

Chikwembani explained that the process to formulating a civic education policy started in 2007 when the civic education department was under the then Ministry of Information and Civic Education.

The policy is expected to enhance coordination, provide guidance and create synergy among civic education stakeholders.

It has largely been observed that lack of a specific policy in civic education has led to duplication of efforts and resources, lack of coordination among stakeholders and springing up ofuncommitted civic education providers among other elements.

The Ministry of Civic Education, Culture and Community Development organised the consultation meeting with funds from European Union through the NICE Trust.

This was the third consultation meeting the ministry organised after it already organised similar meetings in northern and southern regions from June this year (2017).

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