EDUCATION IN MALAWI

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Malawi has been ranked as one of  the lowest performing nations for literacy in sub-Saharan Africa. Malawi one of the least-developed countries in the world and education has is proven as one of the critical pathways to improving living conditions in the country.

Primary school in Malawi was made free in 1994. This policy boosted primary school enrollment from 1.6million children to 3 million children. However, with such an influx in students , the education quality has decreased due to weak infrastructure, poor hygiene and low teaching quality. on top of that, more than half of the country’s population lives below the poverty line. Many children enroll and drop out of school frequently due to employment responsibilities at home or illness. Especially for many girls, dropping out is common due to young marriage, pregnancy and contracting HIV/AIDS

In the first grade, the teacher to student ratio is 1:130 while this ratio decreases as the level increases. Malawi faces one of the world’s worst teacher shortages. This is mostly due to the expense associated with hiring new teachers, rural communities must provide housing which is a significant cost. Many of the issues faced in Malawian schools are due to a lack of  motivation by teachers. They face poor working conditions, weak social amenities and lack health coverage. The overcrowding of classrooms is found to be another catalyst of high drop out rate in Malawian schools.

Besides primary schooling, the government does not fully fund any other education levels. For instance, the government encourages communities to introduce preschools into their societies but does not support these facilities financially. Therefore, most preschools are run on a voluntary basis and remain unregistered. 44 percent of preschools face undernourishment in Malawi and the majority of teachers work for free as they lack the necessary resources to teach the young children.