The successes that Malawi’s education sector has achieved since the introduction of free primary education in 1994 such as significantly improving access by tripling primary enrolment and opening up numerous new Community Day Secondary Schools have contributed to many of the problems the sector is facing today. The country’s population growth has resulted in resources being stretched to the limit, thus implementation capacity is severely strained, inequity has increased and there are seriously low transition rates to secondary, vocational and higher education levels. Despite major improvements having taken place, there continues to be high drop-out and repetition rates, low completion rates (particularly for girls), very low transition to post-primary levels, examination results are on a steady decline, girls are disadvantaged culturally and educationally and the sector suffers from the impact of HIV/AIDS as such there is the ever growing need for qualified teachers.
The number of primary school teachers in both public and private schools has increased from 53,031 in 2011/2012 to 56,534 in 2012/13, representing an increase of 7%. In public primary schools and religious schools the number of teachers has increased by 7% from 51,529 in 2011/2012 to 55,262 in 2012/13. Presently, the proportion of female teachers across all primary schools on Malawi was 40%. In 2012 – 13 the Pupil Qualified Teacher Ratio was 99:1 for rural schools compared to 75:1 for urban schools. In order to achieve the set target of 60:1 by 2017, an additional 17,085 primary school teachers would have to enter the workforce up to 2017. Although the government is deploying more teachers to rural schools and setting incentives for their retention by paying rural teacher allowances, rural areas are still relatively understaffed.
The Humana People to People teacher training model The HPP teacher training model, which DAPP Malawi adapted in 2003 is designed to create a new generation of teachers who will bring modern education into poor communities and thus contribute to their development. The educational concept is visionary and unique in its outlook, combining academic studies with practical work and teaching practice and emphasizing the role of the teacher as a key figure in community development.
DAPP Malawi now has 14 years implementing the program designed to train young teachers specifically for the rural areas while making them agents of change in the communities where they are going to teach. With 2,036 teachers now graduated, the program has thus provided rural children with qualified and trained teachers who are working professionally in challenging local environments as well as spearheading and supporting community development activities around their respective schools.
Through the program, the teachers energetically follow the conviction that all primary school pupils have the potential to become skillful and productive members of society; become acquainted to modern ways and teaching and inspire their pupils be interested in development and in actively shaping a positive future for their society and for the individuals they interact with. Throughout the training program, the young teachers are challenged to be highly demanding concerning their own achievements- and serve as role-models to their students to do likewise; understand learning and skills training not as a technical issue but as humanly motivated, demanding responsibility and contribution from each individual, and to do what it takes inorder for each child to learn.
By December 2016, 2036 teachers had graduated from the 4 colleges namely; DAPP Chilangoma, DAPP Amalika, DAPP Dowa and DAPP Mzimba. There are currently 733 students undergoing training.
Since 2012, DAPP has expanded its education program beyond pre-teachers’ training to include in-service teachers in a concept called “We do more teachers” which is aimed at improving inclusive quality education and creating conducive learning environments for ALL children. Presently, the 400 Primary School Project, a network of DAPP graduated teachers is working in 56 schools. The Let Children Stay in School project which is funded by the Roger Federer Foundation is being implemented in 114 primary schools in 6 districts and working with more than 650 teachers under the Let Children Stay in School project.
The DAPP Mikolongwe Vocational School was established in 1997 with the idea to equip young men and women with technical and vocational skills and knowledge for them to become productive youths, be able to secure employment or become self-reliant by starting up small-scale businesses, thereby alleviating their poverty. To date, more than 8,500 youth have graduated from the school’s formal and informal programs.