Lilongwe, January 28: Teachers in Dowa and Ntchisi districts are commending Malawi Education Reforms Programme (MERP) for improved teaching and learning experiences in schools following a media tour in the two districts.
Speaking with Malawi News Agency(MANA) in Dowa, Head Teacher for Senga Local Education Authority (LEA) , Rodgers Phiri commended the programme for improving operations of the school through the Primary School Improvement Grants (PSIG) which is running under MERP.
“Before, we were running out of teaching materials such as chalk, scheme pads, stationary and we could see some of our pupils dropping out of school due to lack of school uniforms and notebooks, but now PSIG has smoothened the operations of our school as we are able to procure our teaching and learning material through the funding,” Phiri said.
He further highlighted that the grant continues to improve the hygiene for the school as they are constructing two eco toilets which will benefit the school and the community with manure. The two have been added to existing 18 toilets to serve 3,143 learners.
“We have also managed to plant trees at the school compound to preserve our environment through the same funding. So you can see that the programme is doing a lot to improve education in our school,” Phiri said.
Maxwell Katema, a parent with two children learning at Senga LEA, commended the Ministry for the funding as he anticipates to benefit from the eco toilets.
In a separate interview, District Education Manager (DEM) for Ntchisi, Ronex Banda also commended MERP for reducing teacher – pupil ratio which has reduced the workload for teachers in the district.
“As a district we are reaping benefits from MERP through the teacher interns that the Ministry of Education recruited last academic year. Previously, we had a single teacher managing a class of 128 pupils and this made it difficult in terms of supervision as well as marking and it also affected pupils with special needs among others, but now the number has reduced to 60 pupils per classroom and teachers are able to manage the classes properly,” he said.
Banda further urged the ministry to continue supporting the teachers in an effort to improve the education sector to fulfil its mandate.
Secretary for Education Chikondano Mussa has confirmed that the ministry is yet to recruit female learner mentors through a process which will be done by a Non Governmental Organisation (NGO) yet to be hired by MERP through interviews.
Recently, the Ministry of Education through MERP with funding from World Bank recruited 4,125 teacher interns in September 2022 for improved quality education in the country.
The Ministry disburses the PSIG funds to schools through councils to be used for development activities per fiscal year.
Meanwhile, Dowa District received a cumulative MK251, 911,112 which will be disbursed to 244 primary schools and Ntchisi MK 129, 636, 372 to be disbursed to 152 primary schools.