Malawi approves Strategic Plan on Adult Education

Malawi, a country in Southern Africa sharing borders with Mozambique, Zambia, and Tanzania, has approved its first ever National Adult Literacy and Education Strategic Plan (2022-2027). The Strategic Plan aims at strengthening the implementation of the National Adult Literacy and Education Policy (NALEP) which was approved in 2020. This positive development comes at a time when stakeholders in the country have intensified their efforts to promote Adult Learning and Education (ALE) through various interventions such as Integrated Adult Education (IAE), Adult Education in Prisons, ALE through Community Learning Centres, and Inclusive Adult Education which targets people with disabilities.

 

[Translate to English:]

Imprisoned in Zomba. Malawi's new ALE strategy will also enhance the possibilities of further education for people in prison. ©DVV International

Malawi, a country in Southern Africa sharing borders with Mozambique, Zambia, and Tanzania, has approved its first ever National Adult Literacy and Education Strategic Plan (2022-2027). The Strategic Plan aims at strengthening the implementation of the National Adult Literacy and Education Policy (NALEP) which was approved in 2020.

This positive development comes at a time when stakeholders in the country have intensified their efforts to promote Adult Learning and Education (ALE) through various interventions such as Integrated Adult Education (IAE), Adult Education in Prisons, ALE through Community Learning Centres, and Inclusive Adult Education which targets people with disabilities.

The Deputy Director for Community Development and Head of the National Centre for Literacy and Adult Education (NACLAE), a department under the Ministry of Gender, Social Welfare and Community Development, Charles Mkunga, said the approval of the document shows the government’s commitment towards promotion of ALE in Malawi. This commitment is of great importance, with the illiteracy rate standing at 24% (17% among males and 31.2% among females) according to the Integrated Household Survey.

Mkunga said the government of Malawi recognises the importance of adult literacy and non-formal education and skills development as a mechanism for promoting economic empowerment of the citizenry. He underlined that Adult Education contributes to the development of the country in line with Malawi’s Vision 2063, the government’s development blueprint.

A task for both state and society

“This Strategic Plan has come at the right time. The government is committed to improving non-formal education in the country through spearheading the implementation of this Strategy and Policy. ALE is a cross-cutting issue, therefore, all stakeholders in all development sectors should come out and join our efforts to promote ALE in Malawi,” said Mkunga.

One of Malawi’s renowned education activists, Limbani Nsapato, concurred with Mkunga. According to Nsapato the implementation of the NALEP and the ALE Strategic Plan will rely on concerted efforts by all stakeholders, including local chiefs. “The operationalization of these two documents [Strategy and Policy] needs our effort, dedication and lobbying for increased funding. ALE advocacy should be done throughout the year, not only when Malawi is commemorating International Literacy Day every September 8th,” said Nsapato.

National and international strategies

The Strategic Plan is also a working instrument for domesticating international protocols and frameworks such as the Sustainable Development Goals, the African Union Agenda 2063, the Marrakech Framework for Action 2022 and the Continental Education Strategy for Africa 2016-2025. These agreements not only spell out the need for increased investment in ALE, they also advocate for comprehensive and effective skills acquisition programmes to unlock the development potential of countries. The ALE Strategy is also aligned with other national policies such as the Gender Act (2013), Community Development Policy (2016), the Youth Policy, and the Gender-Based Violence Act.

The Strategy identifies five key priority areas as follows: Financing ALE, Capacity Development for ALE, ALE Programme and Curriculum Development, Visibility, Communication and Advocacy for ALE, as well as Coordination, Governance, Linkages and Management of ALE. The success of the strategy hinges on the effective implementation of each of these five pillars.

Integration and inclusion

Like the Marrakech Framework for Action (2022), a key global framework for ALE, and the Sustainable Development Goals, the Malawi National Adult Literacy and Education Strategic Plan also calls for an inclusive approach by all ALE stakeholders to accommodate learners irrespective of any individual differences. Executive Director of the Forum for the Development of Youth with Disabilities (FDYD), Rex Kalima, expressed his excitement, saying the Strategic Plan will enlighten various stakeholders to the need of considering people with disabilities when developing adult education programmes.

“A lot of people are attending adult learning classes these days, but there are very few people with disabilities. We should make adult education classes conducive for people with disabilities. I’m happy that we now have this Strategic Plan which will enable stakeholders to promote inclusive adult education,” said Kalima.

Malawi, through the National Strategy on Inclusive Education (NSIE), aims at ensuring that learners with diverse needs in Malawi have equitable access to quality education in inclusive settings at all levels through the removal of barriers to learning, participation, attendance and achievement. The ALE Strategy aspires to work hand in hand with the NSIE.

Both the ALE Policy and the ALE Strategy have been developed courtesy of DVV International’s technical and financial support, with funding from the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ).

DVV International Regional Director for Southern Africa, David Harrington, said the Strategic Plan will help to improve capacity development, which is key to the attainment of the targets of the ALE sector. “This aims at equipping stakeholders in the sector with knowledge and skills to effectively and efficiently manage ALE programmes and activities at all levels,” said Harrington.

The Strategic Plan will soon be officially launched by the Malawi government and ALE stakeholders, which includes DVV International.

Since the time of drafting this article, Mr. Charles Mkunga has tragically passed away. He led the adult education sector in Malawi in recent years and spearheaded the process of developing and approving the ALE Strategy. He will be greatly missed by his friends, family and colleagues.

 

 

Our work

Worldwide

DVV International operates worldwide with more than 200 partners in over 30 countries.

To interactive world map
 

Cookie-Settings
YOU ARE LEAVING DVV INTERNATIONAL
Important notice: If you click on this link, you will leave the websites of DVV International. DVV International is not responsible for the content of third party websites that can be accessed through links. DVV International has no influence as to which personal data of yours is accessed and/or processed on those sites. For more information, please review the privacy policy of the external website provider.