* The project has helped a lot of primary school learners in Malawi as many learners are now able to learn through technology
* We have reached over 170,000 primary school learners to access literacy and numeracy learning through tablets and iPads
By Lesnat Kenan, MANA
Republic of Germany, through Voluntary Service Overseas Malawi (VSO) under Unlocking Talent (UT) project, has handed over digital equipment (tablets) to the Ministry of Education with the aim of discovering and transforming education through technology.
At the handover of tablets and iPads for digital learning at Kasiya Primary School in Lilongwe on Saturday, German Ambassador to Malawi, Ute Konig said the Unlocking Talent project has a role to empower children in Malawi to build literacy and numeracy skills needed to achieve their full potential in education.
“The project has helped a lot of primary school learners in Malawi as many learners are now able to learn through technology,” she said. “We have reached over 170,000 primary school learners to access literacy and numeracy learning through tablets and iPads.“
Konig added that the UT e-learning for primary education project was implemented by VSO Malawi in 2019 and has been working with the Ministry of Education in collaboration with the German government —funded by the kreditanstalt fur wiederaufbau (KFW) with over Mk30 billion as an investment.
On her part, Minister of Education Madalitso Kambauwa Wirima said the UT project is a demonstration of the Malawi government’s commitment towards digitalization of education system — particularly at a foundation level with the aim of accelerating the attainment of learning outcomes among learners in numeracy and literacy.
“Through this project, government alongside the development partners, including VSO, wanted to prove that indeed the use of technology can accelerate the attainment of learning outcomes especially in primary schools,” she said.
She added that German government through the UT project has helped the Ministry in delivery of quality and inclusive education in 338 schools from 15 districts in Malawi.
The UT project has also helped government in terms of infrastructure development by constructing 178 learning centers for primary schools blocks in 15 districts in Malawi and Wirima expressed optimism that by 2029, primary school learners across Malawi will be able to learn using digital equipment.
Unlocking Talent project aims at igniting children’s potential in literacy and numeracy and has the vision of reaching 3.5 million children by 2029.
In his remarks, VSO programme implementation lead, Moffat Njati appealed to government to ensure that adequate number of teachers are trained and that the community is involved in the management of the centers.
In January, Malawi Communications Regulatory Authority (MACRA) launched a programme to equip 9,000 schools with computer labs across the country in the next five years with 100 targeted for the first year — includes investing the same in all teacher training colleges (TTCs).
This is being done in conjunction with the Ministry of Education, which already rolled out a nation-wide Connect-a-School program and Connect-a-TTC.
This is MACRA’s contribution to supplement the education sector under the Universal Service Fund (USF) — which was initiated to promote the adoption of information & communication technology (ICT) services in the rural and underserved areas of the country.
And in not leaving teachers behind, the programme includes providing digital libraries for all TTCs and the initiative was rolled out in Phalombe where a computer lab was set up at Phalombe Secondary School equipped with 20 computers and 15 of them to Phalombe TTC.
The initiative is to provide the teacher students with digital skills in order to be at par with the current generation of youths who are already technologically savvy and the target is to reach out to 11 TTCs across the country — providing a total of 150 computers.—Additional reporting by Duncan Mlanjira, Maravi Express