U.S. Ambassador to Malawi Virginia Palmer, Malawi’s Minister of Education, Science and Technology Bright Msaka, Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Affairs Emmanuel Fabiano, and USAID Mission Director Littleton Tazewell have signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) to expand existing secondary schools and install new secondary schools throughout Malawi under the U.S Government’s new Secondary Education Expansion for Development (SEED) initiative.
As part of its efforts to combat HIV, the United States intends to provide up to $90 million (MK 65.4 billion) to build secondary schools across Malawi and additional funding to provide youth friendly health services.
In the MOU, the Government of Malawi committed to fund training and salaries for teachers to staff the new schools and maintenance of the new structures; to support the provision of youth friendly health services near secondary schools; to incorporate comprehensive sex education in the national curriculum to keep young people HIV-free; and to enact a phased-in reduction of secondary school tuition fees.
The United States and Malawi will ensure more adolescent girls attend secondary school, which will better keep them HIV free
Ambassador Palmer notes, “Through this commitment, the United States and Malawi will ensure more adolescent girls attend secondary school, which will better keep them HIV free. Studies have shown that for every year a girl attends secondary school her risk of contracting HIV throughout her lifetime decreases. The first tender is out to increase the number of classrooms in urban secondary schools across Malawi. Malawi’s program will demonstrate the critical link between girls education and public health for the rest of Africa and the world, and provide important benefits for Malawi’s development,”
Minister of Education, Science and Technology Bright Msaka said, “I am very excited to sign this Memorandum of Understanding on the expansion of secondary education. We are confident that this increased access to education will reduce the transmission of HIV to Malawi’s youth and help us break the back of the HIV epidemic.”
Msakai informed the congregation that the secondary sub sector has not grown much compared to the other sub sectors in education. This he says has led to many children, especially girls, being denied the opportunity to receive secondary education due to various challenges we have been facing.
“I am excited that the focus on the girl child will ensure that our girls not only come to school, but they stay and complete their secondary education to reach even greater heights. My ministry will work with all relevant partners to ensure that there is zero tolerance on school-based gender violence; that communities care and maintain all infrastructures that will be built in this program; and that youth friendly health services are provided to our youths close to their schools.”
Msakai affirmed that the introduction of the secondary school tuition fees reduction will go a long way in assisting disadvantaged students access secondary education. The ministry he adds will ensure that no disadvantaged student is left behind on this program. The government also committted to recruit qualified teachers in all secondary schools to improve the quality of teaching and learning in schools.
“The Government of Malawi, through the Ministry of Education, Science and Technology is committed to ensuring that each and every child in Malawi receives the education he or she deserves for the betterment of the Malawi nation.” he added
Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Affairs Emmanuel Fabiano concurred, saying: “Education is the most important asset a parent can give to a child and a government to its citizens. It is therefore most gratifying for Malawi to have the US Government to partner with the Malawi Government in empowering the youth with education. This will contribute to the sustainable socio-economic development of Malawi.”