Basic Education comprises Early Childhood Development (ECD) which is currently under the Ministry of Gender, Primary Education, Complimentary Basic Education (CBE) and Adult Literacy, also under the Ministry of Gender. The ultimate goal of Basic Education is to provide relevant, quality and accessible education to the Malawian Nation.
According to EMIS 2013, the primary school enrolment figures are at 4,497,541 with boys at 2,247,189 and girls at 2,250,352. This gives an average Gender Parity Index of around 1 which is the ideal. However, past trends have shown that there was more gender equity in the first five classes and thereafter enrolment tended to skew in favour of boys. For example, in 2013 GPI at standard 8 is 0.8 which means that there are more boys than girls in that grade.
Again, EMIS 2013 indicates that there are 65,044 teachers of which 25,971 are females and 39,073 are male providing a pupil: teacher ratio of 69:1, a ratio which is far from the ideal of 60:1.
Since the Ministry of Education operates within the framework of the National Education Sector Plan (NESP) which hinges on the three thematic areas of Quality and Relevance, Equity and Access and Governance and Management so does the directorate of Basic Education with quality and relevance as its number one priority.
For Basic Education, the main thrust is on the provision of quality and relevant education to the Malawian nation. In order to realize this, the directorate is mandated to provide adequate teaching and learning materials like text books, exercise books, chalk and desks. It also has to provide adequate and well trained teachers to all primary schools.
Currently the Pupil Teacher (PTR) Ratio is at 69:1 (EMIS 2013). This is an improvement from 78:1 in 2008. There has been a tremendous improvement of number of pupils per teacher over the past two years. This can be attributed to the accelerated teacher training programs the Initial Primary Teacher Education 1+1 (IPTE-1+1) programme and the Initial Primary Teacher Education (IPTE – ODL) which have placed over 14,000 new teachers into the system. The sub-sector however needs 10,000 more teachers to achieve the 2015 ESIP I target of PTR of 60:1(projected at 4% enrolment growth and holding current teacher population constant).
Programmes and Projects
- Complementary Basic Education
The Directorate of Basic Education runs Complementary Basic Education, a program which is currently operating in 10 districts and in 600 established centres with an enrolment of 10,000 males and 11,000 females. It targets school dropouts aged between 9 and 17.
- Primary School Improvement Program (PSIP)
Basic Education directorate has been in the forefront in implementing the policy of decentralization in order to give more autonomy to schools and school communities in the spirit of decentralization and also to speed improvement of primary schools in Malawi. PSIP was adopted under the Education SWAp in order to direct resources and capacity down to schools for easy and effective planning and implementation of school based improvement initiatives. Schools receive funds directly from government to be utilized for small scale rehabilitation of infrastructure, hiring of assistant teachers, supporting orphans and procuring teaching and learning materials among other things.
Successes in Basic Education
- Procured and distributed 60,000 double seater desks to public primary schools across the country in 2011/12 FY.
- Procured and distributed 32,000,000 notes books, 300,000 slates, 75,000, 177,000 schemes and records of work pads, 236,000 boxes of white and coloured chalk, 3,000 portable chalkboards, 15,000 attendance and performance registers in 2011/12 FY.
- Procured 9,708,000 learner’s books and 390,000 teachers’ guides for standards 3 to 8 for public schools in 2011 /12 FE.
- In 2013 FY, procured 7.4 million standards 1 and 2 learners’ books, teachers’ guides, 75,000 attendance and performance registers, 334,036 boxes of chalk, 296,032 dusters, 1030882 slates, 222,024 schemes and records of work books, 869469 Atlases for Primary Schools.
- District councils procured some teaching and learning materials such as notes books, chalk, and flip charts as a way of implementing decentralization of education services.
- Successfully rolled out Primary School Improvement Programme (PSIP) in all 34 education districts, school improvement grants provided to all primary schools across the country.
- Provided rural allowances to eligible primary schools.
- Established 600 Complementary Basic Education (CBE) centres in ten education districts.
- Provided financial and technical support to five service providers towards implementation of CBE.
- Deployed 4412 IPTE teachers (2040 males and 2372 females) to various districts for posting to schools.
- Vibrant donor support towards basic education.