|Education in Malawi
|Most children start formal
education at primary school at the age of six. The primary school takes
8 years from standard 1 to 8 at the end of which pupils write the Primary
School Leaving Certificate examinations. These are jointly set, conducted
and marked by the Ministry of Education and the Malawi National Examinations
Board (MANEB). Students have to pass and get selected if they are to attend
secondary school education in a government secondary
The introduction of Free Primary Education in Malawi has seen a large increase in the number of pupils going to primary school but this increase in access has also brought major infrastructure problems and a big decline in quality.
To help manage the many primary
schools in Malawi, the Ministry of Education has created Education Divisions which group
primary schools into smaller groups for management purposes. A policy framework has been developed to enable the provision
of education needs to be well-planned, and priorities drawn out.
Malawi has been divided into six Education Divisions namely:-
Every year the Ministry of Education prepares an Annual Primary School Census Questionnaire which is distibuted to every primary school. The purpose of this questionnaire is to find out general information about the school.This information includes:-
For private schools to be recognised they obtain a license from the government and after registering they get a center number so the center can administer Primary School Leaving Certificate Examinations. For a private primary school student to get selected to a government secondary he has to apply directly to the Ministry of Education so that they can decide his eligibility.
The introduction of Free Primary Education in Malawi has seen a large increase in the number of children going to primary school. In effect more Malawians are being educated and hence the whole nation is moving towards literacy and a well-informed society with sound judgement and reasoning, where individuals are able to communicate with each other on the same level. A basic education is essential for someone to understand how the world works and to appreciate the value of the property one has. In Malawi it is essential for each individual to be able to appeciate what one has. Education helps build ideas in ones mind, without basic education even an intelligent child would not be able to develop to his full potential.
Despite the advantages free education has also brought with it a lot of problems: -
Most children start formal education at the age of six. And since most of the children attending primary school are between the ages of 6 - 14 and are aslo in large numbers it is difficult for the government to provide protection for students, some of the protective measures put in place include: -
Protective measures have been put in to the best of the government’s ability but the public should help protect these children, as they are our future.
When a child goes to primary school it is at the age when he is keen to learn and explore and also a time when children need more guidance. The general behavior of primary school children in Malawi is decent and has resulted in a high passrate in the Primary School Leaving Certificate Examinations.
Most of the children are willing to listen to their teachers and learn from them, but it is very difficult to discipline a class of 200 children and hence some rowdy behavior still develops.
Most problematic behavior is seen in higher classes e.g. standard seven and eight where young girls have to dropout of school due to teenage pregnancies. Most of this also results from the fact that children are starting school at an older age and therefore reach adolescence while still in primary school. There are many NGOs that are looking into problems of this nature and are working with the government to help prevent such outcomes.
The primary school education takes eight years from standard 1 to 8 at the end of which pupils write the Primary School Leaving Certificate examinations. These are set, conducted and marked by the Malawi National Examinations Board (MANEB). All the results are then sent to the Ministry of Education, which sets the standards for selection to National Secondary Schools. The results are then sent to the districts for selection into Community Day Secondary Schools. Committees consisting of Headmasters from cachement primary schools and the Community Day Secondary School in question select students to go to this school.
If a child is selected and cannot afford secondary school fees bursaries have been set aside by the government so that no child should fail to go to get a secondary school education because of lack of funding.
Girls who are pregnant at the time secondary school starts are allowed to take time off and just register with the school and start in the next academic year. One might argue that this encourages students to miss behave but it has been observed that the students given this opportunity come back stronger and more determined to continue with their education and are among the most successful in their classes.