In commemoration of International Literacy Day, United States government has awarded a multibillion Kwacha contract to Malawian publishers.
According to United States Embassy in Malawi, the $4.5 million (K13.2 billion) project will see the publishers work on English and Chichewa books.
“We are proud that the U.S. Government, through the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID), has awarded a $4.5 million contract to local Malawian publishers to print, bind, and distribute 770,000 English and Chichewa learning materials for nearly 5,500 primary schools across Malawi,” says US Embassy Malawi.
According to the US Embassy, this effort adds to the 2.7 million Standard 1 textbooks and teacher guides generously donated by the United States Government in 2016.
USAID’s multiple education activities support Malawi’s National Reading Program, helping to improve early grade literacy rates.
USAID has supported Malawi’s education sector since independence through collaboration with the Ministry of Education, Science and Technology (MoEST), to increase access to education, particularly for girls, and strengthen the capacity and quality of the education sector.
Building on this strong partnership, the US says it remains committed to working with the ministry, development partners, and civil society to address the educational challenges facing the country today.
In Malawi, 83% of Standard 1 students cannot read a single syllable and 92% cannot read a single word. On average, Standard 3 students can only read 11 words per minute and 67 percent cannot identify the first sound, or phoneme, in a word.
Malawi’s educational performance has continually ranked at the bottom within the Southern African region.
The Government of Malawi together with USAID support has responded to this challenge by concentrating on improving learning outcomes in Education.
This focus is evident in the Ministry of Education’s Second Education Sector Implementation Plan (ESIP II) which prioritizes 50 percent of Standard 4 students reaching grade-appropriate literacy/numeracy rates by 2017, developing a high-performing teaching corps and increasing in internal efficiency, and improved management and delivery of Teaching and Learning Materials (TLMs).