Civil Society Education Coalition (CSEC) executive director, Benedicto Kondowe, has disclosed that at least 20 member organisations of the coalition are closing due lack of funds, a development he fears will retrogress efforts to develop the poor public education sector in Malawi.
Kondowe has since appealed to the donor community to continue supporting Non Governmental Organisations (NGOs) working in the education sector, saying government alone cannot deliver the required aspirations.
He notes that NGOs in Malawi largely help the government in advancing the education agenda through construction of classroom blocks, training of teachers and provision of learning and teaching materials, among other things.
Kondowe spoke Saturday in the Capital Lilongwe during CSEC's 2018 Annual General Assembly held under the theme: NGOs Making a Difference in the Education Sector; Leave No One Behind.
"The number of NGOs folding up could be higher. Some are essentially operating on paper because practically they have nothing. They have no supported programs. They cannot even pay their staff," said Kondowe.
He observed that the development is putting the public education sector in Malawi on the wrong path considering the many challenges the government is faced with.
"If the NGOs fold up, the loss on government's part would be huge. It means no more additional classroom blocks, trained and qualified teachers, Early Childhood Development Centres and learning and teaching materials.
"The contribution NGOs are making to the education sector is enormous. For example, Development Aid from People to People is contributing to production of the human capital needed to drive the education agenda. If it folds up, there will be inadequate qualified teachers.
"It would be the same thing with many other organizations that have teacher training institutions to beef up human capital in the education sector. If they close, there will be no guarantee for adequate teachers. It means access to quality education will be compromised," said Kondowe.
CSEC Board Chairperson, Moses Busher, concurred with Kondowe on calls for donors to bail out closing NGOs, saying the anticipated suffering ought to be avoided.
"If they close, there would be no quality education. There would be no government ability to deliver on sustainable development goal number 4 which seeks to achieve inclusive education," said Busher.
And taking his turn, Minister of Education, Science and Technology, William Susuwele Banda, who was the guest of honor, acknowledged that government would struggle to feel the gap left by closing NGOs.
"It is sad this is happening. NGOs are doing a lot. Some NGOs have even introduced technology in schools which is helping unlock children's talent and increase their excitement to go to school.
"Communities are also appreciating the importance of schools and taking part in the management of such structures because of these NGOs," said Banda.