Government has admitted that Covid-19 has changed the way education sector operates to deliver quality learning services in the country.
Minister of Education, Agnes Nyalonje said this Monday during the opening of the two days Education Joint Sector Review (JSR) Programme at Bingu International Convention Centre (BICC) in Lilongwe.
She said it was important to respond accordingly to minimise losses as good five months of schooling and doing business as usual would not make us achieve the goals which were set.
“You will agree with me that this is a huge loss academically. The crisis has exacerbated pre-existing disparities by reducing the opportunities for many, especially most vulnerable children, those living in rural areas, girls and persons with disabilities,” Nyalonje explained.
She added that the crisis has stimulated innovation within the education sector.
“We have seen innovative approaches in support of education and training continuity; from radio and television to take home packages,’’ the Minister said, adding that “We have been reminded of the essential role of teachers and that government and other key partners have an on-going duty of care for education personnel.
She said the gathering was very unique this year as delegates would be able to find ways and means to continue providing education even when there is such disruption.
Nyalonje said the education sector was still characterised by inadequate infrastructure, inadequate teaching and learning materials, inadequate teachers just to mention a few challenges.
She acknowledged that almost half of the country’s population is children of school going age and the ministry needs to respond to the demands of these children since they are the future development leaders.
Nyalonje said there was need to be very strategic in our planning and coordination.
The Minister viewed that the JSR should give us this opportunity to plan and share responsibilities together to minimise wastage of resources and duplication of efforts.
“We intend to promote evidence informed policy and decision making so that we can collectively plan what type of investment is needed and how much and where it should be allocated,” she added.
United Nations Children Fund (UNICEF) Representative in Malawi, Rudolf Schwenk said the year 2020 has been a challenging year due to the Covid -19 pandemic.
He said the education sector was particularly affected by the closure of schools and other educational institutions for over six months since March. 2020.
“This not only had a huge negative impact on the learning of children but interrupted the delivery of social services children receive in schools, essential for their well-being and protection,” Schwenk added
Source: MANA Online