Friday, November 20, 2009

African network presents state of education, appeal to Mutharika for AU intervention

African network presents state of education, appeal to Mutharika for AU intervention
By Nyasa Times
Published: November 20, 2009

The African Network on Education For all, ANCEF, has called upon African Union (AU) designated chair, Malawi President Bingu wa Mutharika to change the way AU is addressing issues of education in Africa.

ANCEF Policy research and documentation officer, Limbani Nsapato, made the call during a news conference the organization organized in collaboration with Civil Society Coalition for Quality basic Education (CSCQE) to present state of education for all EFA Implementation in Malawi.

The call comes amid fears that Malawi will not achieve the six EFA goals by 2015.

“There would be little chance for Malawi to achieve all the six EFA goals by 2015 if the current education challenges are not timely mitigated,” said a statement issued by CSCQE.

“Progress indicators in early childhood education, primary education, secondary education, teacher education and higher education all indicate that there is serious need for comprehensive efforts.”

Nsapato noted that the change would help many African countries to accelerate progress in the achievements of Millennium Developmental Goals as well as EFA goals.

He raised concern over the recent UNESCO global monitoring report of 2009 which shows that out of the 33 million children are out of school in the sub Saharan Africa.

The report also shows that out of the 776 million illiterate adults 163 million are in Africa.

The CSCQE statement said adult illiteracy population in Malawi is at 4.6 million, over 600,000 children are out of school.

“Access to education at any level is below 40%, quality of education leaves a lot to be desired, and the human resource capacity to implement programs is far inadequate as the Ministry of Education is still having a personnel vacancy rate of 40% since 2000.

“Access to public university is very low as our universities can only accommodate a 1000 plus students against over 4000 eligible student annually,” said the statement.

The organisation pointed out that access to education at primary level is limited due to the high proportion of drop-outs and repetition, inadequate number of qualified teachers and classrooms.

At the secondary level, access to secondary is estimated at only 30 per cent (matriculation from primary to secondary) of the eligible students.

“There are still huge disparities in terms of infrastructure, TLMs, and number of teachers between rural and urban areas. Furthermore, teacher motivation at all levels of education is low.”

The education rights campaigners called on the government of Malawi to increase the level of education financing which is currently at 12.2% against the recommended international target of 20% or 6% of the national GDP

“There is need for deepened and continuous political will – government in particular should go beyond rhetoric. The placing of education as a priority within priorities in the Malawi Growth and Development Strategy should translate into adequate financing of the sector. What is holding the government to fast-track the passing of the reviewed Education Act? “

The organisation also recommended that there is need for strengthened efforts towards teacher recruitment, training and deployment. They said government with support from donors should develop concrete plan to fill the existing vacancies which are currently at 46 per cent

Government was also urged to “urgently” pass the reviewed Education Act. The said Bill is still at cabinet and it is not yet known as to when the Ministry of Justice is going to push the Bill to Parliament.

The organisation also appealed to government to deliberately promote the private sector participation in education policy formulation and education financing.

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