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Government pledges to adopt ODL policy

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By Glory Msowoya:

NYALONJE—We are working around the clock

Ministry of Education, Science and Technology has reaffirmed its commitment in speeding the formulation of Open Distance Policy which would allow the Malawi College of Distance Education (MCDE) to be independent in its operation.

Minister responsible, Agnes Nyalonje, disclosed this on Friday during a familiarisation tour at MCDE in Blantyre.

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Nyalonje said in the absence of the policy, the institution faces a number of challenges including inadequate members of staff and the absence of promotions, among others.

According to authorities at MCDE, there are only 49 members of staffs against the required number of 125.

Nyalonje said plans are in the pipeline for the government to employ additional members of staff at the institution and to make the policy operational.

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According to the minister, MCDE is crucial to sustaining open distance learning for students who are currently at home following the closure of schools due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

“We are working around the clock to employ more teachers so that the institution can deliver its best in the wake of Covid-19. Another issue is about promotions; we are going to work very hard so that teachers are motivated so that they are able to perform,” Nyalonje said.

On the progress of E-learning lessons, she said there has been some progress as a significant number of learners are able to access their lessons.

“We are fully aware that there are limitations for students especially in rural areas to access E-learning lessons due to the fact that lessons are provided online, though radio and televisions. We will continue engaging network providers to make sure internet and enabled gadgets are available countrywide for the programme to be successful,” Nyalonje said.

MCDE Acting Deputy Director, Henry Gwede, pleaded with the government on the need to speed up the independence process of the institution and purchase new machines so that the school is able to meet their demands.

“Most equipment here is archaic. For example, the printing machine was commissioned in 1991, hence our plea for financial and machinery support,” Gwede said.

MCDE was established in 1965 with the main aim of supporting the Ministry of Education in the provision of open and distance learning services. —Mana

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