Education activist Limbani Nsapato has hailed President Lazarus Chakwera for appointing women to the positions of Minister of Education and Deputy Minister of Education.
Chakwera on Wednesday appointed Agnes Nyalonje as Minister of Education and Madalitso Kambauwa as Deputy Minister of Education.
Nsapato said it is good to have females running the Ministry as also part of gender balancing.
He said that the new ministers need to familiarize quickly with the challenges in the ministry and choose correct priorities.
According to Nsapato, the first priority is full implementation of the Education Cluster COVID-19 Emergency Response Plan particularly ensuring adequate resources are secured and made available to schools, colleges and universities are well equipped to enforce preventive measures when education institutions are allowed to re-open on the appropriate date.
He added that teachers are key to quality education and the Malawi Congress Party (MCP) manifesto has promised to improve teacher conditions.
“This should include training and recruiting more teachers to reduce workload of existing teachers, reviewing teacher salaries, ensuring teachers get promoted timely and facilitating teacher professional development.
“The dignity of the teaching profession should be restored. Teachers, instructors, educators or lecturers should not be treated as second citizens in front of fellow civil servants.”
“In addition, review the curriculum to make it relevant to the new Malawi and invest in ICT to promote eLearning,” said Nsapato.
The activist also urged the ministers to address perennial inequalities in allocation of resources across all education levels so that education efforts should benefit more girls, more children with special needs and more children from poor families.
“Higher education should not just be for the rich children who attend expensive private institutions and elite national secondary schools. Quality education should return to public schools so that parents should feel proud to send children to district government schools.
“So, CDSS, rural district schools and other under-resourced institutions should have more resources to address the needs of all under-privileged learners especially girls, children with special needs children from poor households,” he said.
Nsapato further asked the Chakwera administration to expand infrastructure in secondary schools, colleges and universities in order to increase enrolment from primary schools to secondary schools and from secondary schools to colleges and universities.
“Abolition of quota system will continue to disadvantage children from under-resourced institutions if we continue to rely on few secondary schools, colleges and universities.
“To start with, finish constructing the promised 250 secondary schools, finalise construction of Mombera University and ensure finalization of the delinking process of UNIMA to create new Universities. Don’t forget expanding pre-school centres, TEVET centers, community colleges and adult literacy centres and constructing a special needs training institute,” he said.