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Visited schools of the UN Joint Programme for Girls’ Education

Last updated: 01.06.2016 // On April 11 and 12, a joint visit was carried out for the One-UN Joint Programme on Girls’ Education (JPGE). Together with representatives from UNICEF, WFP, UNFPA, and the Malawi government, the Embassy observed activities in as many as five schools.

Girls offered self-defence classes demonstrating techniques they have learned
Girls offered self-defence classes demonstrating techniques they have learned  

The project is financed by the Embassy and was launched in 2014. It is implemented in Salima, Mangochi and Dedza districts, targeting as many as 79 primary schools. During the visit to the schools and communities, the delegations observed a high level of participation, not only in and around the schools, but also in the local communities. The seven components of the programme requires crucial contributions from the community in general and the health centres in particular, to improve access to education for girls and adolescent girls as well as the quality of education so that learning is enhanced.

The Headmasters at the schools provided data recorded over the past years pointing at very positive trends in enrolment, student attendance, and to some extent pass rate.

As an example, the headmaster at the Mdine Primary School showed an increase in enrolment from 1,298 students to 2,095 students between 2014 and 2015. Furthermore, the dropout rate had decreased from as much as 40 percent to 5 percent during the same period!

The School Director at Mphunzi Primary School emphasised the good health of the learners. Since the start of the program they had been able to readmit 16 girls after dropping out, and the pass rate has increased from 56 to 73 percent overall.

The Eliya Chimtengo Primary School had similar positive trends in enrolment, retention, attendance, as well a decrease in dropout rate amongst girls in particular.

The Director at the Chimtenga Primary School was proud of the vegetable garden they had established to produce relish as supplement in the school meals.

According to the interventions with stakeholders, the school feeding initiative including the support to local farmers’ production of nutritious food, is one of the most important interventions that has a positive effect on education outcomes. Another intervention that was highlighted by the community as having an effect on education outcomes, is the mothers’ groups and other groups in the community supporting the re-enrolment of girls who have dropped out school. Literacy training for young girls having previously dropped out of school has shown important results and the refresher training of teachers on the students’ learning.

Despite the overall good results demonstrated, it was also clear that the interventions take place in a complex social context. Increased student mass and retention has implications on the infrastructure and the learning environment. Some communities have already experienced the huge toll that the increased number of pupils has on school infrastructure and teacher resources. UNICEF has been able to leverage extra resources for classroom construction in some schools and the Ministry of Education, Science and Technology, after visiting one of the schools noticing the efforts made and the need for extra teachers, managed to arrange for additional 6 teachers to be deployed there.

 

For more information about the JPGE click  here


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