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Editorial CommentOpinion & Analysis

Education sector requires overhaul

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There is no denying that education is the artery through which the country pulses.

However, news from an international non-governmental organisation working in the education sector that some children in Malawi, especially the marginalised and vulnerable, are denied access to quality education services is disturbing to almost any well-meaning citizen.

The worrying account comes hard on the heels of the World Bank’s recently released World Development Report 2018, ‘Learning to Realise Education’s Promise’.

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The report warns that millions of young students in low and middle-income countries face the prospect of lost opportunity and lower wages in later life because their primary and secondary schools are failing to educate them to succeed in life.

“In recent assessments in Ghana and Malawi, more than four-fifths of students at the end of Grade Two were unable to read a single familiar word such as ‘the’ or ‘cat’,” the report reads.

The report says this learning crisis is widening social gaps instead of narrowing them.

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It says young students who are already disadvantaged by poverty, conflict, gender or disability reach young adulthood without even the most basic life skills.

But this is happening when Malawi’s National Education Sector Plan (Nesp) (2008–2017) envisioned the country’s education sector to be a catalyst for socio-economic development, industrial growth and instrument for empowering the poor, the weak and voiceless.

In essence, Nesp advocates an education sector that ensures better access and equity to education.

And it is only through the provision of equitable, quality and relevant education that Malawi would realise meaningful growth in the development the country much desires.

The glaring gap in education access between the poor and the rich in the country is ample evidence to justify government’s continued neglect of the people’s welfare.

But Section 13 of the Constitution makes it clear that the government shall aim at eradicating social injustices and inequalities by providing for national policies in areas such as, gender equality, nutrition, health, environment, rural life, education, people with disability, children and good governance.

It is imperative that the government should play its constitutive role by closing inequality gaps in the education sector by improving access, equity, quality, relevance, governance and management of education in Malawi.

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