Oct 19, 2017 Last Updated 2:13 PM, Oct 19, 2017
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The Volunteers Service Overseas Organisation has donated exercise books and iPads to Ipyana full primary school in Karonga district.

This is in a quest to improve reading and writing skills among school going children.

Through the Unlocking Talent Project, the project seeks to enable youths in the country to learn mathematics, computing  and English so that they are able to grasp Information Communication Technology (ICT) quickly thereby improving quality of education in the country.

 According to Education Specialist for the VSO Tonas Kalumika said, “Pupils can adopt this system quickly because they are still young and that is why the organisation is targeting learners in standard one, two and three, so that when they get into standard 4 they are able to read and write through the use of modern technology.”

The specialist went on adding that they initiated the project to unlock the hidden talents among learners while on the other hand improving the quality of education.

He further told Capital FM that the project is also in support of the ministry of education in its national reading program as it also aims at achieving the same.

In his words, Karonga district education manager, Scorch Kondowe the support has come at a time when schools recently reopened and they were in need of support to procure teaching and learning materials.

 “The project intends to support the beginners in schools particularly in standard 1 with skills where they can develop writing and reading skills at their own pace and what we have noticed is that in ten schools where this project is being implemented has generated an interest among learners to enroll into schools and gains among those that are participating in it,” said Kondowe.

The project is being supported by the VSO in partnership with One Billion London based charity organisation together with Malawi’s ministry of education science and technology.

With financial support from Royal Norwegian Embassy and the Scottish government, it is targeting ten public full primary schools across Karonga district.

The Teacher-Pupil ratio in the country’s primary schools is expected to improve as the government is deploying over 9,000 by the end of August.

This comes as a lot of stakeholders in the education sector have been calling for an improvement on the number of teachers.

An official from the Ministry of Education has indicated that the teachers expected to be deployed are those from ODL 10 and IPTE 9 programs.

Ken Ndala, who is Secretary for the Ministry of Education confirmed that the new teachers will start working when schools reopen next month.

Ndala added that the ministry will also recruit 1,200 secondary school teachers and also those that are willing to work in public secondary schools as many shun working in remote areas across the country

The recruited teachers are currently in the phase of getting shortlisted and interviews.

According to the last World Bank Survey which was done in 2015, the teacher-pupil ratio in the country was at 70 pupils per single teacher.

The minister of finance Goodall Gondwe is seeking approval from parliament for an extra K6 billion allocation to the Ministry of Education.

This is to enable the ministry recruit more primary school teachers.

According to the Malawi News Agency (MANA), the minister made the request before parliament went into committee of supply, through which monetary allocations to various ministries and departments are scrutinised before approval.

Gondwe pointed out that the about 10,500 teachers have been trained since 2013, but that the government is struggling to employ them due to a lack of resources.

He therefore stressed that the extra amount is very crucial as it will enable the government hire these teachers, who are needed immediately in various schools across the country.

Gondwe however told the house that other requests for high allocations to various departments and ministries would not be acknowledged because there are no resources to satisfy the requests.

Malawi’s Minister of Education, Science and Technology Emmanuel Fabiano is coming under fire over a myriad of problems affecting the education sector.

This has prompted some members of parliament and the public to call for the minister’s resignation.

Member of Parliament for Salima North West Jessie Kabwira feels the minister has run out of ideas and that he should pave way for someone else.

This follows the continued strike by teachers in public schools across the country; Members of Parliament are in the forefront urging President Peter Mutharika to drop Fabiano from his cabinet.

Apart from their arrears the teachers are also demanding salary increment.

They had given government up to the 30th of May to settle the arrears.

Some people are however suspicious of the meeting by the teachers on the salary increment issue, as it is coming before differences over the leave grants  have been resolved.

They have vowed not to go back to class until they are given their dues.

Legislators in Parliament argue that the Minister has failed miserably to resolve the teachers’ sit-in, as well as the closure of the Chancellor College, which has seen it remained closed now for  six months.

On occasions that the minister has been quizzed on the status if the university he has on numerous occasions insisted that just like Mutharika he is also not  responsible for ironing out such issues.

Such responses have angered parents and guardians of the affected students and also commentators who are now branding the country’s education sector a failure.

The strike by the teachers has been causing havoc the past few days as students have resorted to demonstrating on the streets so to vent their frustrations.

On Tuesday and Wednesday pupils from public primary schools in chileka brought business to a standstill when the blocked roads and burnt tyres.

This became an inconvenience for travellers who were on their way to Chileka International Airport because the route the students took was that which leads to the airport.

According to law enforcers in the area, nine people were arrested for allegedly fuelling the chaos.

With all this unfolding, Fabiano is yet to react to the calls that are being made for him to step down.

It is however uncertain whether he will step down as similar calls were also been made in the past and by then, he did not heed to them.

Minister of Finance, Goodall Gondwe however told Parliamentarians in Lilongwe on Tuesday that the Treasury is doing all it can to pay the teachers.

He attributed delays in processing payments to procedures and systems.

Pressure is mounting on Malawi’s Minister of Education Emmanuel Fabiano to step down over what is being described as his failure to resolve challenges in the education sector.

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