Government says it attaches great value to tackling challenges in the education sector in a well-integrated and coordinated manner to uplift the health and well-being of school age children.
Education, Science and Technology Minister, Bright Msaka SC, said this Tuesday at Crossroads Hotel in Blantyre when he opened a three-day joint annual planning meeting between UNICEF and its partners in government on education, adolescence and integrated services.
“Over time and globally, the education sector has shown the value of interlinking with other sectors to improve the health and wellbeing of children, to reduce HIV infection rates, to improve self-esteem and decrease gender-based violence and sexual violence,” Msaka explained to participants who were senior government and UNICEF officials.
He urged the officials to contribute to the joint planning meeting with a sense of patriotism to holistically reach every child in all corners of Malawi with quality social services for optimal learning and development of the child.
“This meeting should identify, discuss and plan the actualization of interventions necessary for the success of our adolescents. This meeting is about the success of the next generation of leaders.
“Therefore, I cannot over-emphasize the enormous responsibility placed on the shoulders of every participant in this meeting,” he told senior government and UNICEF officials.
The minister then commended UNICEF for the financial and technical support it renders towards complementing government’s efforts to address challenges that obstruct school-age children from accessing education such as child marriages, labour and violence just to mention but a few.
“We, in Malawi, note with gratitude that UNICEF Malawi continues to support the Government of Malawi to meet its commitment and obligation to respect, protect and fulfil children’s rights in line with international conventions and standards,” said Msaka.
Speaking on behalf of the UNICEF’s country representative, Kimanzi Muthengi who is UNICEF chief of education said like the institution had done in the past, it could address the challenges of children and adolescents in isolation.
“I am reminded of the importance of joint planning by a wise saying – the man who goes alone can start today; but he who travels with another must wait till that other is ready,” said Muthengi.
He then assured the Education Minister and all participants that UNICEF’s partnership with the Government of Malawi remains strong through programmes currently implemented jointly with the ministries that work to make learning conducive for the adolescents.
“I have visited many schools in Malawi and commend the ministry for the milestones achieved such as the increased national allocation to education budget. In the fiscal year 2018-19, the education sector received the highest share of the total government budget (MK344 billion).
“This is equivalent to 23.7 per cent of the total government budget and 6 per cent of the Gross Domestic Product (GDP). Yet, more remains to be done,” said Muthengi in his speech tilted: “Deepening education solutions, a focus on adolescents and reaching out for innovation in the education sector in Malawi.”
Apart from Ministry of Education, other key ministries and departments that conducted the joint planning meeting with UNICEF Education included Labour, Youth, Sports and Manpower Development.
Others were Gender, Children, Disability and Social Welfare; Information and Communications Technology; Civic Education, Culture and Community Development, and Department of Nutrition and HIV and AIDS, and Law Commission.
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