Education system needs a rethink – Minister

Minister of Education, Agnes Nyalonje, says that the country’s education system from pre-school to tertiary level needs a rethink.

Nyalonje said this on Wednesday when she, together with her deputy Madalitso Kambauwa, met a delegation from UNICEF led by its country representative, Rudolf Schwenk.

Nyalonje noted that Malawi has one of the lowest transition rates at all levels in the education system and she claimed that this is not by accident. “It’s about how we have structured our education system for a longtime that is not responding to pertinent needs,” she said.

The Minister added that in the five months that they have been given to prove themselves by President Dr.Lazarus McCarthy Chakwera, they will be engaged in robust transforming policy decisions and programmes that among others will see the operationalization of the Teachers Council of Malawi.

“We must also make Secondary education affordable and effective while on the other hand take a critical look at free primary school that has a lot of hidden costs,” Nyalonje said.

She added that investment in tertiary education also needs a fresh eye so that most universities should be more involved in research, science and innovation to provide solutions to various issues the country is facing.

In his remarks, Schwenk, the country representative for UNICEF in Malawi, highlighted a number of programmes that are geared towards addressing issues of school going children particularly adolescents.

Schwenk, the UNICEF country representative, raised various issues including affordable secondary education and increased subsidy and investment in the subsector to secure increased transition to secondary.

He also talked about strengthening Teachers 4 Malawi campaign that seeks to improve teacher management (recruitment; deployment; motivation) as a pinnacle of education change in Malawi; and the strengthening of a pre-primary sector or Early Childhood Education by establishing a pre-primary school sub-directorate that coordinates and works in collaboration with the Ministry responsible for ECD.

Meanwhile, the Minister of Education has called upon UNICEF to continue its support in the re-opening of schools agenda and that the reopening of schools must be done at the earliest opportunity, but must be risk informed, governed and guided by proven science and best practices.

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