Malawi’s main political parties on Wednesday committed themselves to Civil Society Education Coalition (CSEC) citizen education agenda 2024, a document that contains Malawians’ aspirations for education in the country but the governing Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) have not signed the document.
DPP failed to show up despite being invited to the ceremony and only Malawi Congress Party (MCP), UTM Party and United Democratic Front (UDF) had put pen to paper for the document.
By signing the education agenda, the parties commit to end challenges which education sector faces in Malawi such as open air classes, walking long distances to schools, high pupil and teacher ratio, and shortage of teaching and learning materials.
CSEC executive director Benedicto Kondowe said it is sad that despite effort in education sector, Malawi continues facing numerous challenges.
“We need Early Childhood Development centres everywhere and that we should say a big no, to children learning under the tree and also we say No, to students failing education because of resource constraints.
“ We also say No, to students having no opportunities for technical and vocation education as well as no, to inequitable access to higher education in Malawi,” Kondowe said.
He said equitable, accessible, inclusive and relevant education is their demand.
In his remarks, MCP shadow minister of education Dr Elias Ngalande said the country’s oldest party is committed to improving education once voted into power in May.
UTM representative Dr Jessy Kabwira, an academician, and UDF’s Secretary General Kandi Padambo also spoke defending the need for quality education.
In his key note speech, Malawi Human Rights Commission Executive Secretary, David Nungu commended political parties for committing themselves to education agenda 2024.
He said the launch of the Education Agenda 2024 signifies the citizens’ aspirations and wishes for the education sector in the next five years (2019-2024).
The document examines the pre-existing policies, strategies and laws and their adequancies and inadequacies to the shared education vision for Malawi.
The agenda takes into consideration the MGDS III, ESP and other national instruments which set the following, as priority areas in education: Access and Equity; Quality and Relevance and Management and Governance.
Nungu observed that the coalition recognizes the great role that education plays in development of the peoples. He added that success in the health sector is dependent on levels of education.
“Failure in smallholder farmers adopting modern farming technologies and other extension services is attributed to the education levels of the people. Slow growth in the private sector is attributed to education; as it is argued that the education system in Malawi fails to cultivate innovative and entrepreneurial minds. Improving the education sector in Malawi has far-reaching positive impacts on the other sectors of economic growth and human development,” s aid Nungu.
He said the education system in Malawi faces serious challenges, yet education is the single most development equalizer.
CSEC is therefore proposing 20% of the National Budget to Education as well as political will to explore and implement domestic resource mobilization strategies.
It also propose education levy, Girls Education Trust Fund, Bond financing, Alumni Funds for Schools as well as strengthening governance systems and accountability measures at all educational levels.
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