Education in Malawi

Education in Malawi stresses academic preparation leading to access to secondary school and universities. However, few students go on to high school or university. The drop out rate is also very high particularly among primary school pupils.

Primary Education
Primarily schools are mostly in two categories of assisted (public) and unassisted (private) schools. Villages and hamlets throughout the country have such schools. By 1970, there were approximately 2,000 primary schools for 35 percent of primary school aged youth. About 12 percent of all primary school students attended private, predominantly church run schools.

Secondary School Education
Secondary education developed late in Malawi, because of little effort or neglect in secondary education during the colonial era. Malawi has five types of secondary schools. These include aided boarding schools, aided day schools, government boarding-secondary schools, government day secondary schools, and private secondary schools. Most secondary teachers are qualified and hold either degrees or diplomas.

In the curriculum, Agriculture is a compulsory subject for all students. Wood working, metal work, and technical drawing are encouraged for boys, and home economics is encouraged for girls. One of the biggest criticisms of secondary schools in Malawi is that they are too university-oriented and needs more technical skills taught. Most students immediately enter the workforce and need a different orientation. Therefore, Secondary schools do not produce as many graduates as the labor market demands. In fact, only one-fourth of Malawi's youth end up attending secondary school.

Public School System
The government established free primary education for all children in 1994, which increased attendance rates, according to UNICEF. In 1994, the gross primary enrollment rate was 133.9 percent, and the net primary enrollment rate was 102.6 percent. In 1995, 62 percent of students entering primary school reached grade two, and 34 percent reached grade five. The dropout rate is higher among girls than boys.

Private School System
Private schools have risen in Malawi and offer an alternative to public schools. Private schools include school like Phungu, Lilongwe Girls, and Sunnyside School. Some consolidates private schools are run by the Designated Schools Board.

Charitable Foundation schools
Many independent schools have been set up as charitable foundations in Malawi with a specific targeted pupil.

Jacaranda School
The Jacaranda Foundation, founded by nanny Marie Da Silva, maintains the Jacaranda School. It is Malawi's only entirely free school for primary and secondary students. The vast majority of students of the Jacaranda School are orphaned by the HIV/AIDS pandemic, as featured on 2008 CNN Heroes.

St Patricks academy & primary

The Joyce Banda Foundation
The Joyce Banda Foundation is a foundation that runs schools for primary and secondary schools in Malawi.

Raising Malawi Academy for Girls
The Raising Malawi foundation is in the process of building a school aimed at female education in Malawi.

The Legson Kayira Primary School and Community Center
The Youth of Malawi foundation has built a solar-powered, rainwater-harvesting primary school in the village of Chimphamba, in the Mchinji district of rural Malawi.

University System
The University of Southern Malawi also known as the Malawi University of Science and Technology

The Malawi University of Science and Technology (MUST) was established on 17th December 2012 by the Malawi University of Science and Technology Act No. 31 of 2012 as the fourth Public University in Malawi. It was officially opened in the 2014 by Professor Peter Mutharika, LL.B(Hons), J.D.S. It's situated in the prestigious shire highlands in Thyolo, Malawi. This institution is occupying a total plot area of 215,000 m2 (21.5 ha; 53 acres) and has total building area of 46,000 m2 (55,000 sq yd). The seating capacity of this university is 3000 but can accommodate about twice that seating capacity. Evidently, this University will hugely contribute the government of Malawi efforts to widening access to higher education.

Once fully operational, the University will have the Malawi Institute of Technology, Ndata School of Climate & Earth Sciences, Academy of Medical Sciences and the Bingu School of Culture and Heritage. The Malawi Industrial Research and Technology Development Centre will be part of the MIT

University of Malawi
Malawi's first and largest tertiary educational institution is the University of Malawi. It was founded in 1964, and is separated into several campuses.

Mzuzu University
The university was founded in 1997 and is one of the principal universities of Malawi. The school is located in Mzuzu city in the northern region of the country.

Catholic University of Malawi
The university is located in Montfort campus in Chiladzulu District in Malawi. It was established in 2004 and opened in 2006, with faculties of social science and education. It now additionally offers economics, Marketing, Business Administration and accounting.

University Education Quota System
The Education quota system was used under the Kamuzu Banda reign of one party rule and discontinued after multi-party democratic system of government on the basis that it was deemed discriminatory. Among the three administrative regions (north, central and south) in Malawi, students from northern region dominated in higher education during meritorious system of selecting students into Universities. Bingu wa Mutharika re-instituted a quota system for selection students into Universities, basically to promote equality to those getting access to university education. The policy attracted a lot of debate and criticism considering the fact that brighter student are left out for the sake of the policy. To balance up the policy, Professor Bingu's government directed to increase the number of student into the constituent colleges regardless of limited resources available. The effects of the policy were reflected in most of the colleges where many students were dismissed on academic grounds (poor performance). Bunda College of Agriculture dismissed 200 students in 2013 and similar figure were reported for Chancellor and polytechnic colleges, larger percentage of the dismissed students are the beneficiaries of the quota system. Dr Joyce Banda who took over government when Bingu passed on in 2012, announced in her inauguration speech to end quota system because it is discriminatory but after two years in power the system is still being used.

Teaching & Education Profession
The Ministry of Education develops the curricula used in Malawi's schools and oversee teacher training. Teachers take both pedagogical and academic courses. Supervised practical teaching is expected before teaching independently. Most teachers begin as primary school teachers in a demonstration school adjacent to teacher training facilities. Later, block teaching is tried during which the teacher trainee tries teaching a class on their own for six weeks. Three types of lecturers educate potential teachers. Graduate teacher educators chair most departments, aided by diplomate and nondiplomate assistants.

Primary Teachers
Malawi has four professional teaching Grades(PT) of primary school teachers. The PT4 teacher holds a Malawi School Certificate of Education(MSCE) which is four years of secondary school education, and a two-year Teachers Certificate.PT3 is obtained after going through interviews after serving for fours at PT4 Grade. PT2 and PT1 they are also obtained through interviews. However, PT2 is an administrative grade (Deputy Head teacher) while PT1 is reserved for the head teacher, primary education advisors and field supervisors.

Secondary Teachers
Secondary school teachers are trained at the School of Education. This school awards three types of professional qualifications, which are: Diploma of Education, Bachelor of Education and the University Certificate of Education.

University Professors
Malawi citizens who serve as professors constitute 30 percent of the university's faculty. In 1977, a total of 87 of the 199 working faculty or 87 percent were expatriates. While 27 percent of the professoriat were from Malawi and a further 48 percent were pursuing advanced degrees abroad. There is a need both to upgrade or develop personnel currently serving as professors and to train many more Malawians to fill these posts.

Non-governmental organisations
DAPP Malawi operates 4 teacher training colleges to meet the need for more primary school teachers in rural areas. Wungwero Book Foundation trains teacher librarians at the DAPP teacher training college. AYISE, a large non-governmental organization based in Blantyre, Malawi, provides education at its youth center and works with local schools

The Brain Drain
Like all other professions, the teaching professionals have been impacted by the brain drain. Many Malawian educated professionals are working and living abroad due to higher pay and better working conditions.

Notable Malawian Educators
Joyce Banda- President of Malawi, founder of the Joyce Banda foundation
Dr.Frank Chipasula - author, poet and educator
Marie Da Silva - Founder of the Jacaranda foundation, CNN Hero 2008
Peter Mutharika- Professor of law, International law advisor
Anjimile Oponyo - Educator
Samuel Kaphuka - Founder of Kaphuka Private Schools

Notable Malawian Scholars
Frank Chipasula - author, poet and educator
William Kamkwamba, a Malawian student who gained fame after building a windmill from spare parts