Improving Basic Education in Malawi
Title: Basic education programme (BEP)
Commissioned by: German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ)
Lead executing agency: Ministry of Education, Science and Technology (MoEST)
Overall term: 2018 to 2022
To allow primary schooling for all, the Malawian Government introduced compulsory free access to basic education in 1994. The vast increase of enrolment numbers put an enormous strain on the limited physical and technical capacities of the primary education sub-sector. Today, enrolment numbers continue to rise steadily due to the rapidly growing population. However, access is not spread equally, leaving vulnerable minorities behind.
Furthermore, there are continued challenges in improving the quality of education. Malawian pupils’ learning results are some of the lowest in the region: The high repetition rate (22.7 per cent in 2019) and low primary school survival rate (58 per cent in 2019) are alarming. Large class sizes of an average of 120 pupils per classroom and an average of one qualified teacher for 64 learners continue to have a negative effect on the quality of primary education. The country continues to face issues such as teacher absenteeism, also due to low teacher motivation.
The Ministry of Education, Science and Technology (MoEST) recognises that an efficient education system, accessible to all children, is the basis for social development. Efforts are undertaken to improve basic education, in order to enable learners to reach their full potential as well as to contribute to national economic growth.
The Malawian Government established a high-quality, sustainable and efficient primary teacher education system, that responds to the needs of all children in primary education.
Germany has supported the Malawian education sector since the mid-1990s. The current focus of the Deutsche Gesellschaft für International Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) GmbH Basic Education Programme (BEP) cooperation is set on a well-functioning teacher training system to contribute to sustainable quality improvements in education.
BEP contributes to improvements in the management and quality of primary teacher education on multiple levels, both, working closely to the respective Ministry departments in Lilongwe, its implementing agencies as well as decentralised at the eight public Teacher Training Colleges (TTCs) nationwide.
To achieve the objective, support is provided to monitor and evaluate teacher education and strengthen capacities. The partnership is guided by the Malawian National Education Sector Plan (NESP) and the Education Sector Implementation Plans (ESIP II, soon ESIP III).
Special emphasis is laid on the inclusion of disadvantaged children into the public education system, e.g. girls and children with learning difficulties.
The project has four focus areas:
1. The development of internal and external evaluation systems for the attainment of the National Standards of Teacher Education (NSTE) at all eight public TTCs.
2. The increase of capacities concerning the implementation of the revised curriculum for Initial Primary Teacher Education (IPTE) at all eight public TTCs.
3. The increase of capacities to provide mentoring and learning support for student teachers posted to teaching practice schools; including activities to build resilience in flood affected areas in the south of Malawi.
4. The introduction of information and communication technologies (ICT) as a tool for teaching and learning in TTCs. Activities are linked with the Unlocking Talent project.
What is being implemented through BEP builds on successes from the previous project phases. Through its support, Malawi has succeeded in introducing the NSTE. Another result is the revised curriculum for IPTE, which is now modular, greatly emphasising on learning methodologies and practice-orientation throughout teacher training.
To further support an inclusive school system, BEP supported the MoEST to develop and implement the Blended Learning Course on Inclusive Education (BLINC). The year-long certificate course for teachers on identifying and supporting children with learning difficulties uses an ICT-based learning format. 177 teachers graduated from BLINC I in 2018, participants of BLINC II will graduate in 2021. This is a great success and will contribute to leave no learner behind.
To improve the low valuation of the teaching profession and to recognise outstanding primary school teachers, BEP implemented the World Teachers’ Day in cooperation with MoEST and UNESCO in 2018. By now, this is a grown annual event mainly organised by MoEST with positive impact on the reputation of Malawian teachers.