|Malawi: A Baseline Study of the Teacher Education System (CIE, 1999, 47 p.)|
|Chapter 1: Introduction|
The present government of Malawi has maintained that it is committed to facilitating the provision of education in the country. It believes that this is best achieved through collaboration with the local community, non-governmental organisations, the private sector and the donor community (MG, 1995). Education is seen as a vehicle for promoting national consciousness and cohesion and as a catalyst for economic development (MG,1987). It is also recognised that the education of the mother has far reaching consequences on the cognition, affective and physical development of the child. As a result the policies that have been developed in pursuit of such goals have focused on equity of access to educational opportunities, a relevant curriculum and improving the efficiency of the system. A good teacher education system has been identified as key to the improvement of the quality of the education delivered.
In respect of this the Malawi government has invested substantially in the production and support of qualified teachers. This document catalogues in broad terms the education system in Malawi with teacher training as the central focus.
In order for the government to address the issues adequately some organisational and structural changes had to be made. First the functions and duties of the Ministry of Education (MOE) had to be decentralised. Second the Ministry had to outline its investment policy framework to be consistent with the new goals. This required the Ministry to identify marginalised sectors in education and to make the appropriate curriculum changes. The introduction of free primary education also needed the recruitment of new teachers followed by construction of new supporting institutions.
The government has now proposed that the Ministry of Education be divided into two departments: one overseeing basic education and the other responsible for secondary and tertiary education. Functions of the MOE would be decentralised to the divisional level, the district level and the primary school zone level. It is hoped that by doing this many obstacles to the smooth delivery of education services will have been eliminated.
With this brief background of what the government and the Ministry of Education propose to do in the procurement of education services we now turn to the existing scenario in the system. This background gives us the direction the education system will take and therefore gives us a better perspective of how any of the emerging issues in our discussion may be addressed in addition to what has already been put in place.