Malawi government says there has been considerable progress in the implementation of the Ministry of Education budget, citing the provision of teaching and learning materials (TLMs) in the 2012/13 fiscal year.
In the 2012/13, the budget for the Ministry of Education, Science and Technology was allocated K74.7 billion (about $219.7m), representing 22 percent of the total budget.
The recurrent budget was allocated K55.6 billion (about $163.5m) which included K2.8 billion for recruitment of over 16 000 teachers for primary, secondary and special needs education while K1.8 billion (about $5.2m) was for the procurement of TLMs.
But presenting the Mid-Term Budget Review on Friday at Parliament in Lilongwe, Finance Minister Dr. Ken Lipenga said, so far, 1 537 schools have received 60 000 double seater desks.
Government has also distributed 9.7 million text books, 32 million exercise books; 300 000 slates, 75 000 flip charts, 127 000 schemes and records, 236 000 boxes of white and coloured chalks, 3 000 portable chalk boards, 15 000 attendance registers and 390 000 teachers guides across the country.
“Under complementary basic education (CBE), 840 centres are now operational countrywide and preparations are underway to open a further 840 centres at the start of the 2013/14 financial year.
“In addition, 8 000 adult literacy centres are operational. In the area of special needs education (SNE), 300 learners that benefitted from the programme have been selected to secondary schools and 370 hearing aids and audiometers have been distributed,” said Lipenga.
He said under secondary education, there has also been progress in the provision of TLMs.
In secondary schools, government has, so far, distributed 20 000 single seater desks and chairs, 9 967 mattresses and 313 210 text books.
Lipenga said government continues to assist needy students, particularly on the secondary bursary scheme.
“In the past six months, 9 000 bursaries have been extended to Form Two and Four students and the selection process for Form One bursary beneficiaries was concluded in December 2012. In addition, government has supported 120 students enrolled to study at Kamuzu Academy,” he said.
As a show of commitment to girls’ education and retaining girls in school, government has completed eight girls hostels at Chamakala in Kasungu, Kasiya in Lilongwe, Wenya in Chitipa, Lukalazi in Nkhata Bay, Gawani and Chikhwaza in Mulanje, Nachitheme in Ntcheu and Mbenjere in Machinga.
Under the African Development Fund (ADF) IV education project, 15 classroom blocks have been constructed in 15 districts, representing 83.3 percent progress, said Lipenga.
The beneficiary districts include Zomba, Chitipa, Mzimba, Rumphi, Dowa, Lilongwe, Nkhotakota, Ntcheu, Salima, Balaka, Blantyre, Chiradzulu, Mulanje, Mwanza and Thyolo.
But under the ADF IV, construction of two community day secondary schools (CDSS) in Chikhwawa and Mulanje have been completed.
Lipenga also announced that 8 391 conventional primary school teacher trainees have enrolled at various teacher training colleges (TTCs) in the country and 11 587 open distance learning (ODL) students have also been enrolled at TTCs.
Government expects that once these trainee teachers qualify, the teacher to pupil ratio will be substantially reduced which will result in increased quality education.
In the financial year, total development budget for the education sector was K10.4 billion (about $30.5m) and with the resources, government intended to construct and rehabilitate over 4 000 primary classroom blocks and teachers houses through the Ministry of Education and Local Development Fund (LDF).
There were also plans to construct girls’ hostels, construct and expand CDSS’s and boarding secondary schools, construct teacher training colleges for primary school teachers, rehabilitate four national secondary schools and complete outstanding works at Mzuzu University.
In the same plan, councils were provided K5.6 (about $16.4m) billion for running primary and secondary schools across the country.