The Minister of Education, Science and Technology, Bright Msaka, has said getting the lion’s share of K166 billion in the 2018/2019 national budget has fired up the sector, raising hopes of cultivating a better tomorrow for Malawi.
He said the development is a concrete sign that government is determined to address a myriad of challenges besetting the education sector.
Msaka was speaking at Chinsapo Primary School in Lilongwe after delivering desks, textbooks and mobile laboratory equipment to a number of primary schools and selected secondary schools in and around the city.
The minister, who earlier on toured China-Malawi Friendship School in Area 47, formerly known as Mkwichi Primary School, said although this is the responsibility of the local authorities under decentralisation, the government has stepped in to help ease the burden.
Msaka was accompanied by the Minister of Natural Resources, Energy and Mining, Aggrey Masi, who is also Member of Parliament for Lilongwe City South West.
About K2.5 billion has been set aside for the production of desks for both primary and secondary schools for all the 34 education districts in Malawi. A total of 32, 000 double seater desks will be distributed to all the primary schools, while 27, 000 single seater desks will go to the secondary sector.
About 18, 000 primary school desks have already been shipped out to various delivery hubs across the country, while the secondary sector has already taken receipt of 16, 000 desks.
This is in response to a growing challenge of desks, class space and teaching and learning materials, brought about by a surge in enrolment of learners over the years due to the introduction of free primary school education in 1994 and the compulsory Primary Education in 2013.
Also coming as part of the package are mobile chalk boards, science kits and tables, text books and teaching and learning materials for special needs education are also some of the items currently under delivery across the regions.
“The provision of the mobile laboratories is just a stock up measure but we will ensure that secondary schools are provided with proper facilities,” Msaka said, adding that in future no school will be allowed to operate without the necessary requirements.
According to the Minister, procurement of desks and chairs for learners is a continuous process as enrollment continues to swell. The Ministry also says there is need to continuously replace worn out pieces of furniture in the schools.
Under the National Reading Programme, the Ministry is supplying over 8 million English and Chichewa take-home text books for Standards 1 to 4, designed to enhance the reading skills of young learners in order to make learning easy for them.
Msaka also said through the Malawi Education Sector Improvement Plan (Mesip), the government is addressing infrastructure challenges by constructing learning shelters and ablution blocks to cater for the needs of the girl child.
On the issue of the high qualified teacher pupil ratio—currently at one teacher to 70 learners in most primary schools across the country—the minister said this year the budget has made a provision for the recruitment of 10, 500 teachers to fill up the gaps. About 9, 630 were engaged in the 2017/2018 financial year.
Follow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :