Grim picture for Malawi education

Report says less than 40% learners transition to secondary school

Macdonald Mafuta Mwale

A latest Human Capital Review Report released by the World Bank has painted a grim picture about the country’s education sector.

Among others, the report tilted ‘Overcoming Challenges to Transforming Human Capital in Malawi’, released in Lilongwe Tuesday, says less than 40 percent of learners who start primary school transition into secondary school.

The report, which was presented by World Bank Senior Health Specialist Chiho Sukuzi, pegs the transition rate for boys at 35.8 percent and 36.4 percent for girls.


Commenting on the revelations, African Institute for Policy Development Executive Director Elia Zulu described the situation as worrying.

According to Zulu, Malawi as a country is creating a very huge crisis.

“This is something that can cause civil strife in the country. You can’t be in a country where 60 percent of your kids don’t even go to secondary school,” Zulu said.


He noted that if Malawi does not invest more in education, it would end up creating an angry group of people who did not access education.

“We can’t afford to have so many people without hope, without livelihoods and without hope for the future,” Zulu said.

Director of Development Planning at the National Planning Commission Grace Kumchulesi also described the situation as “very worrisome”.

Kumchulesi said time has come for Malawi to look at the basics, including nutrition, to support the country’s children in the first years of their lives.

Secretary to Treasury Macdonald Mafuta Mwale said the revelations is a bad indicator, he but was quick to note that the country needs to focus on how to boost access to secondary education and technical college education.

“Maybe we have to discuss a little bit more in terms of how we could increase the access.

“A number of initiatives have been mentioned inside there, but maybe as government, we have to discuss with the line ministries and the donor community and non-governmental organisations to see where we can place our money to have significant impact,” Mafuta Mwale said.

Human capital — the knowledge, skills and health that people accumulate over their lives — is a central driver of sustainable growth and poverty reduction.

Higher levels of human capital are associated with higher earnings for people, higher income for countries and greater societal cohesion.

The Human Capital Index provides a new definition of human capital and quantifies the contribution of health and education through key stages of a child’s trajectory from birth to adulthood to the productivity of the next generation of workers.

The objective of the report is to describe the state of human capital in Malawi, identify factors that hinder progress on human capital outcomes, and identify priority interventions and strategic policy options to improve human capital and inform future World Bank support.

The report attempts to determine what investments are needed to help Malawi improve human capital and what skills children will need in the next two decades.

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