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African Development Bank supports government efforts on education for all in Malawi
Mangochi, Malawi, 27 August 2019: Agness Phiri is the deputy head teacher of St. Monica girls’ secondary school, located in Mangochi, a township near the southern end of Lake Malawi. The school hosts 318 girls. She is very content, as some students are now able to go to university – five so far: “Before, students were trying very hard but their limited access to equipment and textbooks was a huge obstacle in their learning process. Now, they are able to borrow and read books themselves. We are very thankful.”
The learning conditions in the secondary school have indeed significantly improved since 2015. The school is one of the beneficiaries of the Protection of Basic Services programme supported by the African Development Bank. To contribute towards the protection of basic services and improved value for money by strengthening accountability in the social sector, the Bank extended a $26 million grant to the government of Malawi in April 2015.
Malawi requires sustainable investment in the education sector to ensure better access and equity, relevance, quality and efficient management. The Bank supports the government in tackling these issues, thus expanding comprehensive access to high quality and appropriate education for all.
Nearly two million secondary textbooks, 380 science kits, and 960 mobile science laboratory tables were provided to 869 schools throughout the country. The government recruited 8,667 qualified teachers, which led to improved literacy and numeracy rates from 22% in 2015 to 25% in 2018 for grade 6 pupils with Level 4 literacy and numeracy. In addition, the dropout rate declined for schoolgirls, from 10% in 2015 to 4.2% in 2018 and for boys from 7.5% in 2015 to 4% in 2018.
Since the installation of the mobile laboratory in St. Monica School, Martha Mmangeni, chemistry teacher, explained that her students now have the opportunity to carry out more science experiments. This allows them to understand better but also to practise to gain the skills required to continue with their studies. She also encourages them to read the new science textbooks to deepen their comprehension of chemistry.
The textbook to pupil ratio has significantly improved from 1 textbook for 15 students before the Bank’s support to 1 textbook for 4 students currently. St. Monica School received 962 textbooks, mostly for science. Deborah Mambo and her classmates cannot thank the African Development Bank enough, and are very excited about the new equipment and books.
As Deborah observes: “Before, we had many problems. Teachers could tell us to go and find something in the books, but we could not find the information. There are not so many of us sharing a textbook anymore, so we can even be ahead of the teachers and find the information before they ask us to. We now have all the equipment we need to study”.