Britain’s Department for International Development (DfID) yesterday unveiled a new £11.6 million (about K7.6 billion) education support package to Malawi which will run until 2017.
Speaking at Namilango Primary School in Zomba when he unveiled the programme, visiting United Kingdom (UK) Minister of State for International Development Grant Shapps said the programme will use £7 million (about K4.5 million) to support primary school infrastructure across 48 sites nationwide.
He said DfID will work closely with the Ministry of Education, Science and Technology (MoEST) Education Infrastructure Management Unit (EIMU) and a contract manager to ensure construction is completed at all 48 existing sites which will open up classroom space for over 30 000 pupils annually.
Said Shapps: “While there is compelling evidence that school construction can increase access to education; construction alone is unlikely to improve learning. Therefore, to transform access into learning, the addition resource rooms at 12 sites will enable 3 000 children per year to gain numeracy skills through tablet computers delivered by VSO’s one billion project.”
Speaking in an interview at the function, MoEST Principal Secretary (PS) Lonely Magreta commended the UK government for the financial support, saying the country’s education sector faces a lot of challenges that hinder effective delivery of lessons in most of the schools in the country and the support is a shot in the arm.
Before unveiling the programme, Shapps was taken into some classrooms at Namilango to appreciate the Early Grade Reading Activity (Egra) programme being implemented by the USaid.
He announced that the education support programme will see the start of collaboration between USaid and DfID to improve literacy in the early grades of primary school