Government is yet to start constructing 250 secondary schools which were earmarked to start early 2019 under the United States Government-funded Secondary Education Expansion For Development (Seed) programme.
Government, through the Ministry of Education, Science and Technology, (MoEST) announced the project in December 2018, saying the construction would start early 2019 and that each district would have a share of at least seven new secondary schools.
However, nothing tangible has taken placeon the ground to date, although President Peter Mutharika presided over the groundbreaking ceremony at Kawale, Lilongwe in October 2019.
MoEST spokesperson Lindiwe Chide said in an interview on Tuesday the construction will start with 40 sites this yearnationwide, but she declined to say what delayed the project.
She said: “All ground work and preliminaries have been done, and now we are waiting for construction to commence.”
Chide added that the work will have four overlapping phases, with each phase expected to be completed in six months.
“It is the expectation of government that by 2021, the construction will be completed,” she said.
The project is being implemented with funding from the United States Agency for International Development (USAid) to the tune of $100 million (about K73.5 billion).
Presenting his ministerial statement in 2018, then Minister of Education, Science and Technology Bright Msaka told Parliament that government confirmed the project to construct 250 secondary schools.
“Having these 250 schools will mean that each district will at least have seven to eight secondary schools. This will depend on how big the district is and how big the problem is in a district,” he said.
Last October, President Mutharika presided over the official ground-breaking ceremony of the project at Kawale Community Day Secondary School in Lilongwe, which was also attended by US Ambassador Robert Scott.
Scott said at the time that 96 new classrooms will be constructed in 30 existing urban secondary schools in Lilongwe, Blantyre, Zomba and Mzuzu.
“We will also construct up to 200 new community day secondary schools in rural areas in every district in Malawi.
“We want to increase access to secondary school by as much as 20 percent. The compelling idea is that improved access to secondary school significantly improves education and key health outcomes,” he said. Scott said the world will be watching as the US Government works together with the Malawi Government to test the innovative approach as the transformative work of the Seed programme takes place in the country.