Some education experts in the country have said much as the government is set to recruit 5 703 teachers in the current financial year, the number is still abysmal as far as the teacher-pupil ratio is concerned.
The Ministry of Education has advertised for the recruitment of 2 200 secondary school teachers while through the Ministry of Local Government 2 003 primary school teachers and 456 general education staff will be recruited.
Under the Equity with Quality and Learning at Secondary (EQUALS) project, government is also expected to recruit 1500 auxiliary secondary school teachers.
While renowned education expert Limbani Nsapato said that the move was good "though not enough", another expert, Steve Sharra, said the figure mentioned does not give hope of reaching the right teacher-pupil ratio anytime soon.
"The Ministry of Education estimates that 51 000 new secondary school teachers will be needed between now and 2030 but the figure may rise, factoring in a population growth of 2.9 percent," Sharra said.
According to him, for primary school teachers, the estimates show that 71 000 new teachers are needed between 2021 and 2030.
"With these estimates, we need to recruit a minimum of 5 100 secondary school teachers and 7 100 primary school teachers every year to be on target," he said.
Education principal secretary, Chikondano Mussa, said adverts calling for applications for secondary school teacher vacancies were published, but those for primary school teachers will be done in consultation with the Ministry of Local Government since primary education was devolved to district councils.
The exercise comes against a backdrop of teachers who completed the Initial Primary Teacher Education (IPTE) from 2013 have been pushing government to recruit them on a permanent basis unlike serving as auxiliary teachers as is currently the case.
"The filling of vacancies for teachers which have been outstanding for long will ensure institutions have a full establishment which will ease pressure on existing teachers and will also raise the standards of teaching and the delivery of services in secondary and primary schools in the country," Mussa said.
According to Mussa, the government of Malawi recognises the role the education sector plays in socio-economic development of the country.
"The Malawi Vision 2063 identifies human capital development as one of the key enablers for the country's transformation.
"The recruitment exercise will help reduce the pupil: teacher ratio, workload among teachers and unemployment among youths as well as help teachers attain a clear career progression path," she said.
Teachers Union of Malawi general secretary Charles Kumchenga welcomed the development, saying it is a good start towards filling the huge teacher gap that has existed for a long time.
"The figure may be small compared to vacancies that are there but it's a good start," Kumchenga said.