Access to education Is the #1 Problem in Malawi
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The Education Crisis In Malawi
Improving educational opportunities is among Malawi’s greatest challenges. Free primary education has existed in Malawi for over 25 years. The elimination of school fees had a significant impact on enrollment. The percent of children attending primary school almost doubled, which lead to severe overcrowding and a lack of resources. A lack of qualified teachers also remains a problem. Further, the high cost of secondary education makes it impossible for most children to attend high school. Only 30% of primary students move on to a secondary education. A lack of access and money, the social pressure to marry and care for family members, and a growing HIV/AIDs epidemic all act as barriers to education.
The Need for Learning Materials
A 2011 report by the Southern and Eastern Africa Consortium for Monitoring Educational Quality (SAMEQ) revealed that approximately 25% of students in Malawi lack the very basic learning materials essential for participation in classroom instruction—at least one textbook, a pencil, and a ruler. The number of students lacking basic learning materials increases in rural areas of the country.
Many of the teachers in Malawi who have completed a college-level training program still find themselves under-qualified and unprepared to teach a class with an average of 99 students. Only half of the teachers working in Malawi’s primary schools attended an official college-level training program. Official training programs have changed since the implementation of free primary education and, in many cases, not for the better. Many two-year programs have been shortened to one year in order to meet the need of putting teachers in classrooms.
Most students in Malawi cannot read or write properly even after completing primary school. Less than 7% percent of students demonstrate an ability to engage in interpretive, inferential, analytical, or critical reading. While a majority of students score well at a basic numeracy level, less than 10% of students are mathematically skilled or competent in concrete or abstract problem-solving levels.