Minister of Education, Science and Technology Bright Msaka has said the textbooks meant for the country’s public schools in support of the National Reading Programme will help improve learning in upper primary school.
Msaka said when he joined United States Ambassador Virginia Palmer to tour Kris Offset and Screen Printers in Blantyre to appreciate the printing of the new Standard 2, 3, and 4 Chichewa and English teaching and learning materials for the 2017/18 academic year, which begins on 18th September, 2017.
The new textbooks, with quality content based on education research, will enable all Standard 2, 3, and 4 students in public primary schools to have their own Chichewa and English textbooks to use in and outside of school—a significant departure from the past that will boost student learning.
In 2016 and 2017 the MoEST worked to revise Standard 1-4 student textbook content in accordance with Malawi’s National Reading Strategy to ensure that the teaching of Chichewa and English are complementary.
“As a country we need to upgrade our education so that we are competitive in the region,” said Msaka.
Textbooks with this new content will help students learn to read in Chichewa and English in lower primary and improve learning in upper primary.
Speaking after the tour, Palmer expressed satisfaction with the work, saying it will help impart in Malawian children essential reading skills in Chichewa and English.
She said when the work is completed, it is her wish that every child from Standard One to Four will have two textbooks of both languages which they will be able to take home and read further.
“They say learn to read so that you can read to learn. We want the ratio of textbooks to learners in these lower classes to be at one to one. We are also planning to invest another $90 million [K67.5 billion] in the next five years for expansion of education in secondary schools,” Palmer said.
During the 2016-2017 academic year, the Ministry of Education oversaw the printing and distribution of 1,358,732 Chichewa books for all Standard 1 learners in all public primary schools across the country with the generous support of the US Embassy, through United States Agency for International Development, to the tune of $4.8 million (about K3 billion).
Since 2013, the Ministry of Education and USAID have been working with local printers to improve printingcapacity in Malawi. Through a competitive process, USAID awarded its first $4.8 million contract in 2016 to Kris Offset, a local printer in Blantyre, to print Standard 1 Chichewa textbooks for the NRP.
This contract enabled the printer to purchase new equipment that doubled its ability to print quality textbooks locally and led to the hiring of 50 additional Malawian staff, many of whom are women, to support the large printing effort.
Kris Offset and Screen Printers sales and marketing manager MacDonald Lombola said so far they have printed about five million books since the beginning of the work in 2013.
“Some of the textbooks have already been distributed in schools and we plan to finish printing and distribution of all books by the second week of January 2018.,” Lombola said.Follow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :