In a monumental shift toward development, Malawi established free primary education for all children in 1994. While bold and ambitious, this visionary policy faces the daunting challenge of meeting the growing demand for education.
In the first year alone, Primary School enrollment rose from 1.9 million to over 3.2 million, leaving Malawi’s education system understaffed and underfunded. To accommodate this giant leap in enrollment, Malawi would need 38,000 more classrooms.
Malawi also needs to overcome a massive human resources gap in education. Malawi’s pupil to classroom ratio is a staggering 100:1 and their pupil to teacher ratio of 80:1 is one of the highest in the world .
Shortages in both human and physical infrastructure have had adverse impacts on education:
- Fewer than 25% of eligible Malawian children remain in school by Standard 8 (8th grade).
- Only 9% of primary school students were found to have reached a minimum level of mastery in reading in English
- A mere 2% of pupils possess skills beyond basic numeracy
- 42% of the population is illiterate
- 3.4% of the population completes secondary school
- Only 1% of the population attends Universities