Stakeholders call for political will and financing in implementation of adult literacy strategy

Stakeholders to a roundtable meeting on Adult Learning and Education (ALE)—held Thursday in Lilongwe—called for political will and increased financing in implementation of Malawi’s first ever National Adult Literacy and Education Strategic Plan.

The 2022-2027 strategy spells out activities that must be implemented in order to improve the performance of ALE services.

DVV International organized the roundtable meeting to discuss what is needed “to ensure a vibrant and strong ALE sector that responds to the needs of all learners”.

The meeting also appraised stakeholders on the Marrakesh Framework for Action in order to align their activities with the framework, which is a global guiding tool for adult education.

The stakeholders’ call for political will and increased financing come after the 2018 population census show that 2.1 million people are illiterate in Malawi, a situation reportedly retarding development across the country and requiring urgent fixing.

Zeroing in on the call, Civil Society Education Coalition (CSEC) Board Chairperson, Limbani Nsapato, said if the authorities do not prioritize the National Adult Literacy and Education Strategic Plan, the strategy would just be good on paper.

“Allocate to ALE at least three percent of the entire education budget so that the strategy is adequately implemented. Otherwise, the allocation is very little. For instance, in the 2022/2023 budget, ALE got MK95 million only, which is three times less than what was budgeted for the financial year. This means it will be difficult to realize the results anticipated this year,” said Nsapato, who is also Edukans Country Director for Malawi.

DVV International Regional Director for Southern Africa, David Harrington, concurred with Nsapato, adding that the strategy is a milestone which must be implemented in a well coordinated approach.

“The strategy augers well with the global Marrakesh Framework for Action because it is focusing on key areas of policy, financing, governance, quality, relevance and visibility. So all stakeholders must be involved. The strategy belongs to everybody who is a stakeholder in ALE in Malawi,” said Harrington.

He further said the roundtable meeting explored the multi-sectoral nature of ALE and what the implications of this are for future implementation, particularly within the framework of the strategy.

In his remarks, Deputy Director for Community Development responsible for Adult Literacy and Education Services, Charles Mkunga, added that the strategy seeks to improve ALE through, among others, outreach programmes and introduction of more classes. He also called upon development partners to complement government’s financing efforts in the implementation of the strategy.

According to Mkunga, there are 9000 adult literacy classes in Malawi, which recruit about 180,000 participants every year. He said, in the country, ALE involves providing second chance education to citizens aged 18 years and above, who missed education when they were young.

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