Steeply rising primary school enrollments have overcrowded Malawi’s primary schools, with the astounding student-teacher ratio of 184 to 1 in first grade. At the same time, teachers have insufficient training and support, and education quality has suffered as a result. A quarter of students drop out after the first year of school; for those who remain, by the time they reach sixth grade, more than 70 percent cannot read and comprehend at their grade level. The low number of girls completing primary school remains the strongest barrier to further improving their health.
USAID supports activities that improve early grade reading skills for children enrolled in primary school through better reading curricula and teaching approaches, as well as more reading materials in classrooms. USAID pre- and in-service teacher training improves the quality of literacy instruction and provides professional development. We also engage parents and communities in demanding and strengthening a culture of reading in their districts.
USAID strengthens the higher education institutions to prepare a workforce that will develop creative new approaches to agricultural and environmental challenges. University partnerships foster research and training programs designed in agriculture and natural sciences. For example, we have supported capacity building workshops for agricultural ecosystems in partnership with the University of Malawi’s Bunda College of Agriculture and Chancellor College.
Last updated: January 27, 2014