Reported by James Kanyenda
World Bank (WB) Country Director for Malawi, Tanzania, Zambia and Zimbabwe, Nathan Belete says the bank remains committed to supporting the education sector in the country saying education remains a true catalyst for country’s meaningful development.
Belete made the statement Thursday at Ching’ombe Community Day Secondary School (CDSS) in Lilongwe rural which is one of the schools benefiting under World Bank funded Equity with Quality and Learning at Secondary (EQUALS) project.
Initiated by Malawi government, EQUALS project is being financed to the tune of $95 million, where $90 million is a soft loan and $5 million is a grant.
The project seeks to improve quality of science and mathematics instruction in CDSSs and increase access to secondary education in selected remote areas. To meet this, EQUALS project distributed science books in all secondary schools and is currently constructing science laboratories and additional classroom blocks in 103 CDSSs from 13 selected districts in the country.
EQUALS also trained science teachers to sharpen their teaching skills and school head teachers in management skills to ensure effective leadership in schools.
The World Bank Country Director said he was happy seeing for himself what EQUALS project is doing and how impactful it is.
“We are excited with what we have seen here today, we think this is an opportunity to enhance secondary school participation, we are also pleased to see the quality of construction of the new classrooms, library in which all kinds of school materials have been supplied and also to hear about the leadership and teacher training under the project,” he said.
Belete also hinted on the need to address school dropout which is a common problem in Africa, where he suggested improving infrastructures in schools to motivate learners to stay, and sensitise parents on the importance of sending students to school as some of the solutions to address the challenge.
Director of Secondary Education in the Ministry of Education, Florida Banda said EQUALS projects has already started yielding positive results and there is a registered increase in the pass rate of science subjects.
She said it is the wish of the Ministry of Education to see the construction of additional infrastructures in all the sites to be completed by October 2023 so that students can start using the facilities come next academic year.
One of the students at Ching’ombe CDSS, Florence Kazika expressed her gratitude for the project saying it has motivated learners to develop interest in science subjects.