The Minister of Education Science and Technology Bright Msaka has assured people in the country that government is committed to manage the sector well and improve it to the level of attainment of quality education which is relevant to the society.
The Minister said this in Parliament when he presented a ministerial statement on the current plans and projects in the education sector saying education is a critical sector that can shape the future of Malawi.
“Mr. Speaker, Sir, we, in the Ministry of Education, Science and Technology firmly believe that education is a key ingredient for our country’s socioeconomic development. We, therefore, approach our work mindful of the enormity of the national responsibility that we bear,” said Msaka.
The Minister then outlined a number of programs and projects that the Ministry is undertaking starting with Primary education adding that government is recruiting primary school teachers who can do their job with diligence as this is the fundamental point in educating a person.
Msaka said government continues to implement efforts to reduce the high Pupil to Qualified Teacher Ratio (PQTR) between teachers and learners in the country with a goal of improving the quality of education and also improving the welfare of teachers in the country.
“Mr. Speaker, Sir, at the current average ratio of 70 learners to a teacher, the amount of work being handled by our teachers in class is daunting, and is self-defeating on our aspirations of achieving quality education at primary school level.
“Therefore, in order to achieve the desired quality of learning, and also to align ourselves to the regional average of 45 learners to a teacher, there is need for more teachers in the sector. To achieve this, government continues to increase the recruitment of teachers for the country’s schools,” said the Minister.
Msaka added that in 2017, the Ministry recruited 9,600 primary school teachers who were paid in their first month of employment to avoid accumulated salary arrears like it has been the case in the past.
On secondary education, Msaka said government has intensified improvement of community day secondary schools to allow more pupils attain quality secondary education.
He said twenty one (21) CDSSs will be upgraded through the construction of classroom blocks, an administration block, a recreation hall, a laboratory and an ablution block.
“Mr Speaker Sir, very soon every community day secondary school must have a laboratory and a library to accord students at these schools an equal chance of passing their examinations, including science examinations, as those in conventional secondary schools. In short, every community day secondary school will be a conventional secondary schoo,” added Msaka.
He then outlined a number of projects that are underway across the country the program implemented together with European Union to the tune of 36 million Euros.
Among many projects that government is implementing in the tertiary education, the Ministry of Education, Science and Technology is implementing the HEST project which is aimed at increasing access, quality and relevance of higher education by improving infrastructure, providing merit-based scholarships to science students and improving staff capacity of the seven institutions at an estimated cost of 46.7 million US dollars.
The Minister said government strongly considers quality higher education as a vehicle by which Malawi will be transported towards greatness.
He further said in the world of globalization, marked by stiff competition for resources, only the fittest nations thrive and the rest of the countries barely survive saying this is a world where countries that thrive are those whose sons and daughters are able to successfully compete for the global opportunities.
“Malawi must embark on a road to success and that road is through investment of time, money and intellect in quality higher education,” said Msaka.