South East Education Division Manager, McGregory Alufandika has observed that attaining quality education standards in the country requires heavy investment.
“For the country to attain high quality education standards, it would call for heavy investment so that population growth matches with demand for resources,” He said.
Alufandika said such investments would include improving the situation of schools in rural areas by among others training more teachers to be deployed to such remote schools in order to achieve high levels of literacy.
The EDM made the remarks on Sunday at the end of a two – day community mobilization and engagement on National Reading Programme (NRP) induction workshop for government officers drawn from five districts of Balaka, Machinga, Mangochi and Zomba that make the South East Education Division.
Alufandika said the national reading programme needs concerted efforts from all sectors to enhance networking in order to reach out to every Std 1 – 4 learner in all corners of the country.
“There’s generally a high rate of absenteeism which contributes to high illiteracy especially at Std 1this is one reason the NRP would like to get to 50 percent of learners in Std 1-4 read and write,” he pointed out.
Alufandika said increased parental and community engagement in supporting learners reading was therefore essential by ensuring improved attendance and making available text books at community level.
He added that community mobilization which entails that the community is involved in the education of their children attempts to mobilize communities to assist the learner to continue practicing reading and writing while at home.
“The family is the first institution of socialization and indeed of learning. A child who comes from a family where there is rich reading culture and print environment is likely to display love for reading and discovering things because the environment is supportive,” observed Alufandika.
“It is therefore important for us to go back to our various areas of jurisdiction and work with community structures so that the message of involving the community and parents to educate a child penetrates into each and every village in Malawi,” he added.
On this note, Alufandika called on stakeholders to dedicate efforts and energy towards achieving a nation where children would read and write despite coming from a family where both parents were illiterate.
Malawi Early Reading Improvement Activity (MERIT) public – private partnership specialist Natasha Phoya said NRP aims at increasing parental and community engagement in supporting student reading.
“The goal of NRP is to enable parents and the community to know factors that have influenced the slow and poor acquisition and mastery of reading skills and help them individually find what they believe they are capable of doing to change the situation,” she said.
The NRP which runs from September 2016 – 2020 aims at strengthening the reading performance of Malawian children in Standards 1 – 4 by building upon and scaling up early grade reading activities.
It is supported by the United States Agency for International Development and UK’s Department for International Development (DFID).
Source: Malawi News Agency – MANA.