By Duncan Mlanjira
Government has reaffirmed its commitment and has already commenced the process to construct 250 day secondary schools and 100 community day ones across the country.
This was disclosed by Minister of Education, Science and Technology, William Susuwele Banda on Thursday in Lilongwe, saying this is being done under the Secondary Education Expansion Development (SEED) Project and the Equity with Quality and Learning at Secondary (EQUALS) projects.
“You would agree with me that this is a game changer,” he said. “Since and even before independence, Malawi has never embarked on this massive project.
“Four years from now access to secondary education will have increased by more than double. However, we need as a nation to check our population growth to ensure that the efforts by Government is making are not undermined by this unprecedented population growth.
“Our target is to ensure that every Standard 8 learner who passes primary school national examination is able to transit straight to secondary school without being subjected to selection.”
He, however said selection to these secondary schools will continue to be on merit will continue to take affirmative action to ensure that girls and learners with disabilities including albinos are accorded the opportunity to access quality secondary education as well.
“The Ministry of Education, Science and Technology will ensure that this policy is adhered to. Selection to national boarding secondary schools will no longer consider proximity and economic factor.
“This policy will help us build one Malawi that does not focus on region or district of origin and that education resources will benefit all Malawian children.”
He took cognizance that the youth are a key stakeholder in the attainment of national developmental goals and that government cannot afford to pay a blind eye on the plight of the youth in this country, especially when it relates to accessing quality education.
“If we deny this age group access to relevant and quality secondary and tertiary education we would have denied them descent life and at the same time, as a nation, we would have denied ourselves development.”
Going forward, the Minister said Government will continue with its interventions aimed at promoting quality education, which include: construction of school infrastructure at all levels; supply of school materials including textbooks and desks and provision of continuing professional development.
It will also engage regular inspection of schools; recruitment of more teachers and their deserved promotion.
“I am very grateful to our development partners in education for their continued support. As Government we will continue allocating lions share to the education sector in the national budget.
“I thank all teachers in Malawi including university and college lecturers for their hard working spirit,” he said.