Malawi works to close gender gaps in education

Malawi works to close gender gaps in education

Date: October 7, 2011
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In Malawi the government increased the overall budgetary allocation to the Ministry of Education by 26% in 2010-2011 budget. While there are no gender disaggregated data on these figures, the Malawi government has instituted a number of steps to close the gender gaps in education.

Malawi is currently constructing girls hostels at most community day secondary schools, to encourage girls to stay in school and reduce drop outs associated with factors attributed to non -boarding school. The hostels would also increase the time the girls would spend on studies, as all the time they spent walking to and from schools would now be absorbed in the study time.

Schools targeted are those that have high drop outs rates for girls. In 2009-10, 10 such hostels were constructed. The 2010-11 budget allocates resources for seven more girl hostels at a cost of MK450, 000,000.

A bursary scheme targeting girls and disadvantaged children has also been introduced at secondary school level. The ratio for this intake is two girls to one boy. Some NGOs like CADECOM, World Vision Malawi and district assemblies also sponsor students. It is expected that through these initiatives, more girls will remain in schools sitting for the Malawi School Certificate of Education, which will in turn increase the numbers of those going to university colleges. The Government sponsors one boy and one girl, from every district in the country, in a cycle of four year’s intake, to the prestigious Kamuzu Academy. (1)

To increase female intake to Teacher Training College, the Government has partnered with the Forum for African Women in Malawi (FAWEMA), a local NGO and Open University of Scotland, on a project to ensure the availability of female teachers in rural areas. Female school leavers, with a weak MSCE Certificate, are enrolled on attachments in rural primary schools, where they assist teachers in lower classes. Besides doing the attachments, these females are also undertaking studies to improve their grades on MSCE. The project provides for their learning materials as well as an allowance of MK7,500 per term. After improving their grades, these women are offered scholarships to enrol in Teacher Training Colleges. The project which is in its pilot phase is targeting four districts, Mwanza, Ntchisi, Dedza and Chikwawa, that are strongly associated with high drop outs for girls. FAWEMA and CRECCOM have also introduced Mother Groups (groups of mothers in the communities) to encourage the girl child to remain in school. The groups also assist the girls with concerns related to do gender based violence.

To improve girls’ performance in science subjects at Secondary Schools, government has introduced a project on Strengthening Mathematics and Science in Secondary Education (SMASSE). The project aims to make science subjects more attractive to girls, improving their performance in such subjects. TEVETA has a positive discriminatory policy that ensures that 30% of students it sponsors in the Technical Colleges are females. This is done by among other things lowering pass mark for females during entry exams.

(1) Gender responsive budgeting in Malawi: an Analysis of 2010/11 National Education Sector Budget: CSCQBE 2010.  










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