The Mandate of the Ministry of Education, Science and Technology (MoEST) is to promote education in Malawi irrespective of race, gender, ethnicity, religion or any other discriminatory characteristics. Committed to uplifting education standards in the country, MoEST rolled out several Reforms under the Public Sector Reforms Program that were initiated by His Excellency President Professor Arthur Peter Mutharika upon assuming office in 2014. The MoEST Reforms are as follows:
MoEST played a key role in the establishment of the Higher Education Students Loans and Grants Board (HESLGB).
The Government of Malawi introduced a policy of higher educational cost sharing in 1985, however, there were students who could not afford to pay the tuition fees and Government through MoEST started to provide loans to needy students. The mandate to disburse the loans to the students changed between stakeholders over the years and in 2015 HESLGB was established under an Act of Parliament. Since its inception in 2015, HESLGB has managed to assist 34,359 needy students with loans out of 47,953 students that applied for the loans (up to 2017/18 FY) representing 71.6 percent which is commendable progress.
This Reform Area was accomplished and district councils have been mandated to coordinate and account for money for operation activities under Other Recurrent Transactions (ORT), teacher salaries, teaching and learning materials, and capital expenditure at micro level. The reform has resulted into reduction in costs that include allowances and transport for district officers who used to travel to headquarters on a monthly basis to process salaries for primary school teachers; minimized delays in terms of processing and payment of salaries for primary school teachers; reduced the number of ghost teachers; timely response to teachers’ queries that relates to salaries and reduced costs associated with queries made by teachers to the District Education Managers (DEMs) due to proximity.
MoEST developed a Teacher Management Strategy (TMS) which was endorsed on 30th June, 2018. Posting guidelines for teachers were also developed and are functional. Just recently a total of 9,630 primary school teachers that were recruited were deployed using the new guidelines aimed at reducing disparities in terms of distribution of teachers in urban and rural areas and the distribution/allocation of teachers within schools.
In a bid to increase access to quality Secondary Education which was over the years stifled by a surge of pupil enrolment brought about by the introduction of Free Primary Education, Government introduced Community Day Secondary Schools (CDSS). However, the CDSSs were under-resourced hence, MoEST rolled out Reforms to construct laboratories and librar-ies targeting 29 CDSS’s in the first phase. Construction works commenced in the 2017/18 FY and are expected to end by 30 June, 2019. In addition to the 29 CDSSs being funded by the Malawi Government, the Ministry with support from the European Union (EU) has upgraded additional 21 CDSSs with laboratories. Moreover, Government with support from USAID has constructed 10 new Community Day Secondary Schools in Machinga and Balaka Districts which also include a laboratory and library.
It was noted that some teachers with essential competence were not being promoted and at times incompetent human capital were benefactors of promotions. Thus, MoEST developed the Continuous Professional Development (CPD) Framework that amongst other things recognizes a professional promotion pathway and an administrative promotion pathway.
MoEST has reformed from Rural Allowance Scheme to Remote Allowance Scheme which bases on the remoteness of the areas focusing on factors such as availability of health facilities and other social services. This reform is expected to be rolled out soon.