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Last updated: 16.03.2016 // Information about Norwegian Development Cooperation in Malawi focusing on Education.

2015: NOK 116.7 million / USD 14.1 million (USD 1 ≈ NOK 8,3)

The report to the Storting (White Paper) 25: Education for Development 2013/2014 guides the Norwegian development aid to education globally and the bilateral engagement to the sector in Malawi, in particular. The country is the first to receive bilateral support through the new development policy. The Norwegian Prime Minister, Ms Erna Solberg, launched the education portfolio during her visit to Malawi in July 2014. During her visit, she publicly announced that Norway intends to provide a support of NOK 100 million annually to the sector.

The main goal of the bilateral cooperation in Malawi is to:

  • Contribute to maximize the synergies between the various efforts, uphold the responsibility of the government and ensure aid effectiveness;
  • Assume responsibilities for coordination of GPE activities;
  • Prioritize vulnerable groups;
  • Contribute to ensure that all children are able to complete primary education, that as many as possible, especially girls, complete secondary education, and that the education is of good quality and relevant to the labor market.

In line with the global policy, the Norwegian embassy supports programs aiming to reach results by targeting:

  • out-of-school children’s access to education,
  • girls’ access to school and completion of secondary education,
  • good quality education made accessible for vulnerable groups, children with disabilities included,
  • continuity of learning and safeguarding of schools in situations of crisis
  • the development of robust national education systems that can provide good quality education
  • teachers and the boosting of teaching skills and the development of incentive schemes to recruit enough qualified teachers where the needs are greatest, and
  • the promotion of the use of new technology that improve teaching and learning.

The Embassy will support the Government’s implementation of the Education Sector Plan (Education Sector Implementation Plan II) by channeling support through the Government, the UN, civil society organizations.

Government cooperation

As Co-Chair to the Coordinating Agency for the Global Partnership for Education (GPE), ; the Norwegian Embassy supports the work of the Government and the World Bank as Grant Agent, in their effort of developing a proposal for GPE support to Malawi. The GPE support will contribute to finance key priorities of the ESIP II.

Given the general aid situation in Malawi and uncertainty and fragility of the system, any form of budget support has been discontinued, including a sector wide approach and pooled funds to the education sector. While awaiting for the results of the financial and public reform process, Norway, in the interest of aid efficiency and in collaboration with a handful of other bilateral partners, the World Bank as Grant Agent to the GPE funds and UNICEF, intends to channel funds through a commonly agreed Education Common Financing Mechanism (CFM).

When the CFM has been established with a key number of partners, the Embassy intends to fund the sector through the CFM principles building on a bilateral agreement with the MoEST. The agreement will run for a period of three-years with a planned amount of NOK 120 millions.

UN agencies

One target area in the ESIP II is girls’ education. In Malawi girls continues to face a myriad of interrelated challenges in attaining quality education ranging from access in rural areas to protective and health constraints. According to the Government of Malawi only 27 percent of girls complete primary education. Only half of the girls aged 15-24 in Malawi are literate. Boys, on the other hand, perform better than girls in mathematics and reading performance, and are more likely to embark on post-primary education. Good education for both girls and boys is important in order to hasten development and break the intergenerational cycle of malnutrition, hunger and poverty. Ensuring the equal right to education for girls is an effective way to, not only improve gender equality, but also to stem population growth and increase girls’ access to their sexual and reproductive health rights. One large-scale initiative supported by the Embassy is the One – UN approach through the Joint Program Girls’ Education (JPGE). The initiative aims to improve access to and quality of education for girls. Over a three-year period, it targets 79 primary schools in the three districts of Dedza, Mangochi and Salima through key interventions implemented by WFP, UNICEF and UNFPA. The program has a price tag equal to NOK 131 million and runs from 2013-2017.

Civil Society

Civil Society organizations plays and important role in the provision of education services as they can pilot and test innovative approaches for more effective learning.

Norway supports two civil society projects in the education sector in Malawi:

The large-scale Inclusive Education project with Save the Children Norway and implemented by Save the Children Malawi seeks to create an inclusive learning environment for all children, with emphasis on children who are disproportionately deprived of their education. This includes girls, children with disabilities and children from ultra-poor households.

The project aims to enable deprived children to learn and develop within a safe and inclusive educational system. Primary school net enrolment in Malawi has increased since the adoption of the Free Primary Education policy in 1994. However, fragile systems with scarce resources and capacity lead to major shortages in qualified teachers and relevant learning material. The result is that children do not learn the basic skills as intended. This lack of access to education affects certain groups of children disproportionately. These children tend to be girls, children with disabilities, children with learning difficulties and children from ultra-poor households.

During the four-year period, the project aims to reach 245 schools in three districts, one in each of the three regions in Malawi. The number of students enrolled in the three districts altogether is close to 450 000, with about 60 000 school aged children out of school. Save the Children aims to bring at least 25% of the excluded children into school. Inclusive education meets a great need in Malawi, and corresponds to Norway’s education development policy of granting marginalized children their right to education and an education that delivers on children’s learning.

The project targets three districts in Malawi; Lilongwe City, Mangochi, and Mzimba. The agreement was initiated in 2015 and will run through 2018 with a total envelope of NOK 40 million.

The Malawi Unlocking Talent through Technology is supported by the Embassy and implemented by Voluntary Service Overseas (VSO) seeking to improve the quality of basic education for children in Malawi. The project puts a particular emphasis on digital education technology.

While the number of children enrolled in primary education has increased in Malawi, children and students in school are not receiving quality education. On the World Bank’s Africa Student Learning Index for 2010, Malawi scores only 37,4 out of 100 and therefore is ranking among the worst countries in the region. Youth literacy is higher than the regional average and persist at the unsatisfactory level of 86 percent. The education system is challenged in many ways with severe over-crowding in classrooms, lack of learning materials, inadequate infrastructure, and a shortage of trained teachers to cope with the increased number of students. Malawi’s teacher to student ratio is amongst the highest in the world, with an average of 1 to 80 students, an in many cases, 1 teacher to 250 students.

In order to respond to some of these challenges, VSO has partnered with “onebillion” by providing an innovative one-class teaching model. The goal of the project is to integrate technology in school curriculum and teaching methodologies to help primary school pupils in Malawi achieving learning outcomes and to acquire literacy through digital education technology. With the support from the Norwegian Embassy, the project will equip 53 primary schools across nine districts in Malawi with digital education technology and technical capacity. The goal is to reach out to 25,328 Standard 1 and Standard 2 school children. 2,628 teachers will be trained to utilize the technology with the goal of improving their applied pedagogy. The mobile tablet teaching method will also reach out to 116 learners with special needs and 1,060 youths having dropped out of school.

The project is a three year pilot initiative and targets 9 education districts in Malawi; Karonga, Machinga, Dedza, Ntcheu, Blantyre, Thyolo, Lilongwe Rural East, Lilongwe Urban, and Salima with an envelope of NOK 29,8 million.

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