While the Ministry of Education has been allocated a large share of K235 billion in the 2017/18 budget, the long awaited Special Needs Education Institute (SNEI) Project is not on the list of the projects to be undertaken in the education sector.
According to the proposed budget presented in Parliament by Minister of Finance, Economic Planning and Development Goodall Gondwe, there is only a provision for the construction of three teachers training colleges for primary and secondary school teachers.
Commenting on the matter in an interview on Monday, Ministry of Education, Science and Technology (MoEST) Spokesperson Lindiwe Chide said the SNEI Project is not among the three teacher’s training colleges to be constructed but rather continuation of the Mchinji, Chikwawa and Rumphi Primary School Teachers Training Colleges.
Chide said that currently the ministry is seeking partners to help finance the project and that they only managed to do the designing phase of the project using the little money they had.
“The SNEI is not among the three mentioned in the budget but the construction of Rumphi, Chikwawa and Mchinji which were initially under construction but stalled. We only managed to do the designing phase but right now we are looking for partners to support finance the project as the nature of the project requires a lot of money and government alone cannot finance it,” said Chide.
She said so far, partners are yet to make commitments on the project but the ministry is still optimistic that some will come forward to support the project.
On the three colleges, Chide said they stalled because some financiers had not yet released the funding. She said the ministry has however concluded the evaluation contractors and is just waiting for a no objection from Arab Bank for Economic Development (BADEA) to go ahead with awarding contracts for the projects to start.
In 2013,Ministry of Education, Science and Technology indicated that it has started constructing a Special Needs Education Institute (SNEI) in Lilongwe with a capacity of not less than 400 trainee teachers to increase the number of specialist needs teachers in the country.