Parliament on Tuesday authorised Minister of Finance, Economic Planning and Development Joseph Mwanamvekha to borrow K70.2 billion from the International Development Association (IDA) to finance Equity with Quality and Learning at Secondary Project.
According to the minister, the objective of the programme (Bill 14 of 2019) is to improve quality of science and mathematics instructions in community day secondary schools (CDSSs) and increase access to secondary education in remote areas.
“This is a very important project in improving education in the country, especially in CDSSs.
“The project aims at enhancing student learning in selected 13 districts, including enhancing quality and delivery of ongoing teacher support programme for sciences’ and mathematics, developing digitised student learning materials and improving student assessment and examinations,” he said.
The project has three components, namely improving quality of sciences and mathematics instruction, enhancing equitable access to secondary education and project coordination, learning, monitoring and evaluation.
On enhancing equitable access to secondary education, the project is expected to establish a sustainable 10-year secondary expansion plan based on equity enhancing policy reforms, revival of school health hygiene promotion, together with school-related gender-based violence mitigation measures and optimal use of existing school spaces in the selected districts.
Responding to the Bill, Malawi Congress Party (MCP) lawmaker Cornelius Mwalwanda said it is a good Bill, but government should ensure that the resources allocated are used for their intended purpose.
He decried poor education standards in the country, saying the proposed law will address just a small section when the whole education system needs an overhaul.
“Quality of education has deteriorated in the country. It is not surprising that many of the institutions produce illiterate graduates. Learning materials are in short supply and most schools don’t have electricity. This is a good idea and well-intended. However, this is a drop in the ocean because we need an overhaul of the whole education system where we need to modernise the whole system,” he said.
The project, which will be implemented by the Ministry of Education, Science and Technology (MoEST), will run for six years and at least 100 CDSSs are expected to benefit in 13 districts.
Meanwhile, MoEST Principal Secretary Justin Saidi sad they targeted 19 schools in big education divisions and 15 in small education divisions. He said: “We will implement it in 100 schools where each school will have two classroom blocks, one clean lab and one block which will cater for library, reading space and ablution block.”