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‘Free primary education not doing enough’

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Education experts have asked government and other stakeholders in the sector to introduce new innovations in the sector to complement the free primary education, which they say has not done much in improving education standards in the country.

Civil Society Education Coalition (CSEC) Programme Manager for Results-Based Financing (RBF), Gideon Banda, made the remarks in Mangochi recently when he briefed the District Executive Committee members on the gains the project has registered during the past year it has been running.

Banda observed that despite having free primary education, it is clear that education standards in the country are not improving to the desired levels.

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He said it is, therefore, time the country tried other methods that have worked elsewhere to improve the systems in the education sector.

To this effect, Banda said in the 30 schools in which the RBF project is being implemented in Mangochi, issues of dropout rate, enrolment, absenteeism and lack of dedication among teachers have been tremendously reduced.

“Government is already doing enough to improve education but the results on the ground are not changing to reflect the effort being made. This is a sign enough to force us change the approach and try new methods that have proved successful elsewhere,” said Banda.

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He further said in the RBF project, which is being funded by ColdAid to the tune of U$S1.4 million, CSEC has signed contracts with the 30 schools in the three education zones.

“The schools stand also a chance to receive subsidies for building classroom blocks and teachers’ houses. Currently, we have approved nine blocks to be constructed in the schools that performed well in the just-ended academic year,” he said.

Other areas that are considered during evaluation for best schools include enrolment, gender equality, teaching and learning environment and involvement of parents through school management committees.

According to Banda, the project, which is targeting 30,000 learners, will be phased out in August 2016.

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