Free primary education isn’t ‘free’ – NGO

Kwilembe Full Primary School

Despite claims that primary education is free in the country, learners in primary schools are paying a lot of money to access education.

This is according to a Citizens Action Report that Action Aid has released following research conducted in four districts namely Neno, Chitipa, Lilongwe and Ntchisi.

Kwilembe Full Primary School
Primary School Education not free.(File)

According to the report, even though primary schools education is deemed “free”, all the 20 schools where the study was done charge fees for exams while 19 charge for school development.

“These fees are compulsory in all the schools. The average cost per family for all these costs is MK3,512,” the organisation said.

In Malawi MANEB administers the Primary School Leaving Certificate of Education for Standard 8 pupils and sitting for the exams requires payment of MK1,680 per student.

Pupils in Standard 8 also pay for mock exams during the third term of the year.

According to the ActionAid study, pupils are also expected to pay at least MK100 for the school development fund and an average of MK348 in Standard 1 to 8 per term for examination and school reports.

If parents or guardians fail to pay this contribution, their children are not allowed to sit for exams until the payment is made.

“Considering poverty in rural areas, parents struggle to raise this amount and this contributes to dropouts,” ActionAid says.

Among other primary schools where the research was conducted included Mwadzi in Neno, Benthu in Chitipa, Tsabango in Lilongwe and Kasakula in Ntchisi.




  1. Ana a standard 2,3 akulipitsidwa k1000,akuti ya magetsi.chonsecho mwana wakumudzi sagwilitsa nawo ntchito magetsi.Please goverment MUST take serious on this the mathematically and economically what the school Heads and Staffs are per4ming.Ngati mwana akumapita ku school without something to throw in hisher mouth.Do you think they can manage to pay such amount?Think twice.

  2. THE BEST WAY IZ,, establish good xul council at every xul,, school fees not more than K1000 per term,, collect the money and bank into xul account,, den xul council together with parents must proposal projects to do using those money, accountant from each division must audit the xul at the end of each term to male sure that the money are being using intended purpose proposed by parents

  3. Once anything is offered even slight amount of kwacha then it has moved from “free” to “data”. How can a teachers’ staff find a volunteer teacher and settle that the money this one to be paid should b from pupils?Hah!

  4. Yambani kukhoma msonkho Malawi,pa banja mk1000 pa chaka basi,osati ogwira ntchito okha ayi..Boma la mtundu wanji losaganiza choncho dziko likupita pansy koma osasintha zochita

  5. Achuma munagawana mitag, ana anu Ali m’ma secondary xool abho, m’ma university anyatwa koma Ali nd 46 points, ana amphawife kumatikhomerela cholinga achumanu muzapitilize kulamulira ziko lino,, nanga fees ngat imayamba kuvuta Ku primary zizakhala bwanj Ku secondary?? Tizagawanapotu zikoli,,

  6. koma nane sindimkavesa now I understand cox guyz government ikamanga xool imakhala kut bas yamaliza simabwelaso kuzapanga mantainance and azilonda nanga ma bill a madzi nde kumakhala khan ya stationary nde mumaona ngat mphuzisi azichosaso saraly yake yochepa kale yi kuta azilipila azilonda stationary guyz tiyeni tizoganiza zinazi osangofulumila kuyakhula zot aziphuzisi akuwadyela anawa ayi mukulakwa kwambili and 1000 ya xool fund sivuto guyz nfi chinthu cha comunity nde ndi udindo wa aliyese kutengapo mbali

  7. Indeed free primary education end long time ago ,neither MG nor politecias can’t suspend the sentiment, but what i don’t understand is,gvt is still keeping saying primary education is 4 free is that true ,,

  8. keep up ngo we’r realy paying xloool feese. like in Karonga distric its k1600.00/child .so lts not cheat donors dats malawi is on free promary ws , during muluzi administration.

  9. free education at the same time decentralisation empowering people to take responsibility to take control of their developmental projects,what a tricky!!!!!!! Ali mphamvu ku anthu muzisamalira zitukuko zanu.Chitsanzo school koma ndiye chikuwaweno

  10. Its only the ruling polititians who are enjoying free services here in nyasaland, not the common man as these greedy politians say.

  11. School siyaulele ngakhale mmaboma Mwana aliyense akulipira K100.00 pa mwezi ndipo pamatha Chaka 1 200 .Bolanso ine nthawi yakamuzu ndalipira yodula 450 senior class.Ana ambiri saphunzira school fees yakula kwambiri.Taganizirani munthu osauka apanga bwanji

  12. you are proving alot of money in pariament plus NGOs to education sector.Hence,we are paying school fund is this free primary education?think about poor citizen

  13. It does not make sense that you need free education yet there is need of having enough teaching and leaning resources, at the same time our government isn’t doing good to support learning in Malawi.The question is,” do you want us teachers to dig deeper into our already drained pockets”? If not,’ are you not the same Malawians claiming for quality education and then how do you think good learning can come minus funding’? My Plea, if you have nothing to say it is supportable to zip up your mouth,hence other stories are nosensical in nature.Thank you.

  14. It does not make sense that you need free education yet there is need of having enough teaching and leaning resources, at the same time our government isn’t doing good to support learning in Malawi.The question is,” do you want us teachers to dig deeper into our already drained pockets”? If not,’ are you not the same Malawians claiming for quality education and then how do you think good learning can come minus funding’? My Plea, if you have nothing to say it is supportable to zip up your mouth,hence other stories are nosensical in nature.Thank you.

  15. Thus very true, lik chirimba pr. Xool in BT, xool fund is k800. Development fund is k600. Stationary starting from std 5-8 k650. Akuti zoprintisira mayeso.

  16. The problem of reporting half cooked stories and commenting on reports you don’t know. Why not asking us teachers or the ministry?

  17. Free education doesn’t suit Malawi considering the country’s financial instability. There is no point in the government adopting other countries’ education systems when our government’s treasury cant handle the difficulties that come with Free Education. It doesnt make sense.

    1. South Africa has everything you may ask for in education and children (learners) eat at school. Free Education suits them. That move was for Muluzi to get to power while blinding the poor majority of the country. But did that system help the nation at large? I bet not. Classrooms are full of learners with a single teacher operating. Malawians are giving birth day in and day out nonstop as if there is no tomorrow. But their children fail to cross the Standard 8 border as they dream of having another Free Education at secondary level. The tweak of the reality. Come 2040 pooof!!!! The nation will have 96% of illiterate people.

  18. Inu mukufuna adzikakudyerani kut ma teachers.Inu muli busy kugawana ndalama za cashgate ma office mo nde mukufuna kuti mphunzitsi adzingokhalira kudya choko?.Teachers,go deeper and deeper.’If senses fail use no sense’

  19. Ndipo zuchita kudabwitsa term iliyonse akt school fund koma pa school po no development iliyonse ana akukhala pansi ndalama ena akt k1500 kod inu a boma tiuzeni ngat kulipila kwayambika kmanso mitengo ikumasiyana chifukwa chani?

  20. Free Education Is Only In South Africa Baba Where Everythng Is Free From Primary Up To Secondary, Plus When U Finish Ur Grd 12 U Go Straight To Public College Where U Earn R1500 Every Month While Studyng

  21. The truth of the matter is,these teachers are earning a little per month and amalandira mochedwa even working without being payed maybe a month or two osalipidwa,now they want to sustain their living expences,now these issues has to be pertitioned to the government,and either way our government is too corrupted.

  22. I guess that’s the problem with unplanned politically motivated ideas. U tell people education is free then u don’t provide any funding for administrators to fund other reccurent transactions like security, water and electricity bills, etc. The end result is that u create a loophole for administrators to swindle the beneficiaries of the so called “Free” service. Meanwhile, the politicians have deniability as they swindle our taxes. So disgustingly manipulative and evil. The thunder that will strike these people running our country is just warming up.

    1. #Tonde_Wadula, Was it part of school fees or was it paid separately? And did the initiators of this wonderful idea of “Free primary education” say anything about the continuity or lack thereof of this school fund? I think in my understanding of the aim of free education, any financial requirement on the part of the beneficiaries defeats the purpose. So under whatever terminology it is presented, any cash demand renders the initiative a total failure.

  23. We were fouled that way, these pipo are rily stealing from us. Let them come open & tel us the way 4ward kuti tiziziwa figure yolipidwayo kikkkkkk

  24. if free you mean is complete free…it doesnt happen..even in marriage sex isnt free anymore. be glad anyway …its free

  25. Akuti yachitukuko komwe akupangila chitukuko osakuona. Akuti yamayeso mpaka 1500 subject imodzi yokha chonsecho ndi mayeso a weekend l don’t think school ndiyaulelenso.

  26. Development fee K1000 or more in some cases. Anawo pa school imodzi ndiye ndi more than 3000. What development takes place in our primary schools apart from Alonda alonda alonda? And by the way, how much do they pay these security men? Kenako umva ya examination printing & school reports. Makolo akulira. Ssomething ssurely musst be done.

    1. Inu mukufuna azikakudyerani kuti ma teachers.Muli busy kugawana ndalama za cashgate ma officemo nde mufuna mphunzitsi adzidya choko?Go away wth ua selfish minds.

    2. #Aysha_Tawakali, imagine that K30 000 per month and usually amakhalaposo ochepa kwambiri. Samakwana ten in most cases. This money is seriously abused. Fraud

    3. Mukuti 10? Guard mmodzi koma not more than 2 pa xul imodzi. Ana mwina 3000 aliyense alipile 1000, kenako umva ya masache aliyense K100, kenako 800 ya mayeso eeeee ayi xul ya ulere kulibe

  27. Philimon Brown Kadeluka Linda Kalengo Chikondi Jason Wiseman LG Mphale Ellida Lotani Banda Jimmy Baxy Avica Bin Bandah Harrison Ngwenya Austin Mvula Chawezi Tembo Joseph Chisi Tonny J Kalupsa Billiat Kunje Yohane Gelesomo Nyongani Mike Yakimu Brave Mankhaka Adess Wa Stevie Kawelama Velli Nyirongo Jacob Mkopeka Moses Mazoni Antony Kaundama Joseph Chikwemba

  28. koma abale inu ati ndalama ya alonda ndi ina yomangisila mpanda akapanda kupeleka salemba mayeso kkkk mavuto kwabasi zalowa ndale nanga mwana apeze ndalama yomulipila mlonda???? hahaha

  29. School ya primary siyaulele mboni ndi ineyo ndimafuna kuti ana anga akaphunzire panyambadwe koma anandiuza kuti ndipeleke K10,000.

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