Malawi: Edukans Launches Corona Response Plan for Education Sector

Blantyre — EDUKANS in Malawi has launched a Coronavirus response plan as one way of complimenting government's efforts on home schooling amid the corona virus disease pandemic.

Speaking during the launch at Central Information Office (COI) in Blantyre, EDUKANS Advisory Board Chairperson, Lindirabe Maziyane said the response plan aims to provide information to teachers, learners, parents and communities on how to promote learning during the pandemic.

"We realise that learning from home would be so difficult for learners especially those from rural areas as they may have little or no access to what the government has put in place towards home schooling programmes.

"Our target is the rural areas, we have devised a program that is going to utilise the use of the radio which most from rural areas are able to access as well as use of print media to produce various materials for those who have no access to radios," Maziyane said.

According to Board Chair, there would be five programmes per week, each of 15 minutes on MBC, Times as well as Timveni radio. Textbooks in Mathematics, Biology, English and Agriculture will be printed and distributed among form 4 students.

She added that 5,000 books on sexual reproductive health and 4,000 Covid-19 posters would be disseminated among the learners.

Chairperson added that the program is inclusive as they have produced various materials like brails so that children with impairments in vision, hearings are able to access educative materials.

Yane urged learners to embrace the project as this is their future.

She said it was important that learners have a positive mind so that the project should not be a failure.

In terms of monitoring the progress of the initiative, Edukans intends to fully involve the learners, parents as well as various stakeholders like chiefs, teachers to go around and collect feedback on how the program is helping.

Edukans Country Representative Limbani Nsapato said there was a need for government to look at what would happen during the reopening of the schools especially on the economic sector.

He said the government should consider reducing or abolishing of school fees for a certain period as the pandemic has taken a toll in the economic sector for both families as well as the government.

"It will be tough for parents to raise fees during this period therefore introduction of bursaries and other support funding programs will greatly help in minimizing stress among parents. The aim is for everyone to be able to access education after the pandemic," Nsapato explained.

Ministry of Education, Science and Technology Secondary School Inspector Christopher Ziba expressed gratitude for the initiative EDUKANS and its strategic partner Education Expertise Development Foundation (EEDF) are implementing in ensuring standard and quality education in the country was maintained amid the pandemic.

"Engagement of these learners is crucial for we know that these children are stressed and they don't have much to do at home.

"Much as parents are being involved there was still need to implement more projects just as EDUKANS have done as a compliment to what the government has put in place," he said.

On April 23, 2020, government introduced online learning as part of measures to respond to the impact of the Coronavirus in the education sector.

Ziba promised to continue working with the partners as they will be looking into recommendations that Edukans have raised in preparedness for both parents and students upon reopening of schools.

Funded by the Mastercard and European Union the K112.5 million project will be implemented for three months on primary and secondary school learners from 11 districts across the country.

The districts include Chikwawa, Blantyre, Zomba, Thyolo, Mangochi, Chiradzulu, Lilongwe, Mzimba, Nkhatabay, Mzuzu and Karonga.

EDUKANS is an international organisation which is implementing the same programme in other impact countries like Kenya, Ethiopia and Ghana.

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