Coronavirus: Another hard bite for Malawi’s education sector


The education sector in Malawi faces a huge challenge if Coronavirus is here to stay as disclosed by the World health Organisation.

The education sector is not the only one affected but having in mind that this sector is the backbone of other sectors, let’s see what is to be chewed with the education sector if this pandemic is a guest that has come to stay on this planet.

A week ago, The World Health Organisation (WHO) through its Emergencies Director Michael Ryan disclosed a likelihood that COVID-19 might be included on the list of viruses staying with mankind.

“This virus may become just another endemic just endemic virus in our communities and this may never go away,” said Ryan.

He added that efforts by countries and other health stakeholders to combat the virus might not wipe out it entirely just like HIV.

“HIV has not gone away, but we have come to terms with the virus,” added Ryan.

If Ryan’s prophecy is to come true, Malawi’s education sector has a hard task to adjust to staying with the Wuhan visitor.

Why the sector faces a hard bite?

As a way of preventing the spread of the virus, social distance has been recommended but looking at the picture of pupils enrolled in our government primary schools, it is doubtful whether Malawi can implement social distance in government primary schools.

Social distancing is to demand the country to have more school blocks to be used by learners and more teachers to be recruited, a mere development achievement that Malawi has failed for decades.

Government secondary schools have a similar image of high students, teacher ratio in the country, a development that is to frustrate social distance if we are to live with COVID-19 with schools open.

In an attempt to enrol more students in public institutions of higher education, the government adopted a policy of enrolling candidates based on class space. Though this was seen to be a good move as it helped more students to walk through the corridors of public universities and colleges, this could not be ideal if coronavirus is here with us and social distancing continues to be needed as a preventive measure.

Many public universities and colleges face a challenge of limited class space as some courses have hundreds of students, filling the classrooms to door frames.

If the virus is here to stay with us, Malawi might need billions of kwachas for the education sector to adjust living with COVID-19.

Promises splashed by politicians on additional schools and recruitment of teachers must be turned to reality if the virus has felt at home on earth something that demands a healthy pocket to be done.

Private schools also face a similar challenge, owners need to invest for them to live with COVID-19, the virus is to demand more teacher recruitment, additional space to be used for learning, and other facilities that are to make social distancing effective