Minister’s remarks on education standards draw ire of Malawians

Minister of Education, Science and Technology, Dr. William Susuwele-Banda’s remarks about the standards of education in public schools have angered Malawians on social media.

Malawians have condemned the minister for speaking highly of education standards in public schools while he was seated in a dilapidated classroom.

On Monday, Banda launched the National Inspection of Primary Schools at Mbavi Primary School in Lilongwe.

The Malawi News Agency reported that Banda sat through a whole lesson in Standard 4 to appreciate teaching standards and uptake of learners.

“The Minister said he was impressed with class performance and standard of teaching, saying if this reflects the standard countrywide, the country was making good progress,” the agency reported.

The remarks have, however, not amused Malawians who pointed to the state of the classroom Banda was sitting in as evidence that education standards have not improved.

“Apparently the minister is impressed. Question: Would he send his child to learn in the classroom block where he is now sitting?” asked social commentator Onjezani Kenani in a Facebook post.

Other social media users made their opinions known on the Malawi Government Official Facebook page where a story about the minister’s visit was posted.

“If the minister is impressed with such an environment, it speaks volumes of his low standards,” said one commenter.

Another one said: “I see, he is impressed with the syllabus whilst turning a blind eye to infrastructure.”

Some commenters, however, applauded the minister for visiting a school with dilapidated classrooms saying he could have chosen to visit a well-furnished school that would not have given the true picture of the state of schools in the country.

“This should serve as a reminder to the decision makers to think of doing something about the hardware as they are also focusing on the software. Policy changes must go together with proper adjustments,” one social media user said.

The minister’s launch of school inspections follows the recruitment and training of 221 inspectors to the Education Inspectorate Cadre (EIC) in January 2020 with support from USAID and UKAID, through Local Government Accountability and Performance (LGAP) project.

The inspectors are expected to conduct education inspection in randomly sampled schools across the country.

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