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Primary Education and Early Grade Reading

USAID has supported Malawi’s education sector since independence in collaboration with the Ministry of Education, Science and Technology (MoEST), increasing access to education, particularly for girls, and building capacity in the education sector.  Building on this strong partnership, USAID remains committed to working with the Ministry, development partners, and civil society to address the educational challenges facing the country today. 

USAID now focuses its education interventions on early grade reading.  In Malawi, 83% of Standard 1 students cannot read a single syllable and 92% cannot read a single word.  On average, Standard 3 students can only read 11 words per minute and 67% cannot identify the first sound, or phoneme, in a word.  Malawi’s educational performance has continually ranked at the bottom within the Southern African Region.

The Government of Malawi has responded to this challenge by concentrating on improving learning outcomes in Education.  This focus is evident in the MoEST’s Second Education Sector Implementation Plan (ESIP II) which prioritizes 50% of Standard 4 students reaching grade-appropriate literacy/numeracy rates by 2017, a high-performing teaching corps, an increase in internal efficiency, and improved management and delivery of Teaching and Learning Materials (TLMs).

Education, international day of the girl, let girls learn
Malawian girls reading as part of USAID/Malawi’s celebration of International Day of the Girl.
Oris Chimenya, USAID/Malawi

Higher Education 

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. 

Related Stories and More Information: 

See how USAID/Malawi is working to #LetGirlsLearn

Transforming Lives: A Young Girl Teaches Her Father to Read

Transforming Lives: Disability is not Inabilty

Transforming Lives:  Malawian Villages Join Forces to Teach Children to Read

Transforming Lives:  Hearing Impaired Students Learn to Read Faster in Malawi

Transforming Lives:  Children Become Readers in Malawian Village

Transforming Lives: Stella Stays in School 

Impact Blog: Martha Learns to Read

Learning Squared Infographic

Learning Out of Poverty Infographic

USAID/Malawi's Education Fact Sheet

Last updated: April 27, 2016

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