Cost of data in Malawi is prohibitive – Chakwera

President Lazarus Chakwera says the high cost of data in Malawi is one of the challenges affecting the implementation of online learning programmes at this time when schools are closed due to the Coronavirus pandemic.

The Malawi leader made the remarks on Saturday when he addressed Malawians on issues surrounding the pandemic.

He noted that schools have fallen behind their curricula, with no definitive direction on when, where, and how to open schools safely.

The Malawi leader then described the cost of data in Malawi as expensive, saying it is difficult for schools to implement online learning programmes.

“And even though a few private and international schools have introduced online platforms for learning, most of the models used have so far proven to be unsustainable.

“Not only has the cost of data been prohibitive, but the lack of training and support for both parents and teachers to facilitate home-based education and guarantee a suitable learning environment for kids has unfairly burdened families with an approach more focused on completion of work than creating a dynamic learning experience that delivers robust learning outcomes,” the Malawi leader said.

In Malawi, schools were closed in March when the country had zero Coronavirus cases. Currently, the country has recorded over 4,200 cases and the death toll is at 123.

Chakwera’s remarks come at a time Malawians on social media continue to urge mobile companies, Airtel and TNM, to reduce the cost of data.

TNM last month reduced its Pay as you Go (PAYG) internet cost by 70%. Prior to the change, TNM was charging K25/MB or K25,600 per GB. The 70% reduction implies that TNM is now charging K6.25/MB or K6,400 per GB.

Airtel was offering relatively cheaper PAYG at K15 per MB or K15,360 per GB. The company last week reduced that to K5/MB and also increased the volumes in MBs for some of its bundles while maintaining their prices.