Increasing Girls' access to education in Malawi - DANIDA Study
DANIDA conducted a study in 25 Distant Education Centres (DEC), schools that were initially established as distant education centres to cater for the students who could not be admitted into conventional secondary schools due to large influx of primary school graduates. These have gradually become conventional community schools with up to 70% of secondary school students attending. This study is part of DANIDA's preparatory phase to support the Malawi Government in the education sector. The findings are:
The Positive indicators are: these schools existed everywhere creating opportunities for transformation, and that in view of such adverse circumstances, young people, including girls were still interested in getting education. Critical issues discussed that could be funded to transform the educational sector as a whole included: funding for different levels of schools; determining income in rural areas to set fees; scholarships which can be maintained without being hijacked for political purposes; education for what (vocational, technical for example) alternative assessment system will take account of the different strengths of girls and boys; community management of schools that will include students (girls/boys); language-while Chichewa is good for history etc, students must be able to communicate in English and grasp concepts in English; comprehensive review of training of teachers; girls only schools/girls only science schools; relevant curricula, sex education; use of youth clubs to inform; conu-nunity counselors; severe punishment for teachers found to be having sexual relations with students by the government; integration of the educational sector within the decentralisation process and the need to examine social systems of planning education and not just assume that these systems are in place as being currently done.The consultations and issues identified will form the basis of the Ministry of Education Plan of Action for 2000-2005 to which DANIDA is prepared to commit US$12m.
Further information concerning this Programme, contact Mike Kiernam of DANIDA, Lilongwe.
Source: UN Update, March 1999, UNDP, Lilongwe, Malawi