By Cedric Nkungula
Malawi’s First Lady Madam Monica Chakwera has stressed the importance of strengthening basic education and early childhood development in the country.
Madam Chakwera made the remarks on Sunday, September 18, 2022 during a meeting with the Global Partnership for Education delegation in New York, United States of America.
In her remarks, the first lady explained that basic education in Malawi faces a lot of challenges such as effects of climate change which have sometimes destroyed school infrastructure impacting the learners drop out.
“When climate change catastrophes hit, the ones most hard hit are girls who fail to go to school and are asked to feed the families, fetching water and firewood from long distances, a situation which is worrisome,” said Madam Chakwera adding that these entrench inequalities among learners between boys and girls from both urban and rural areas hence the need to promote basic education for all.
She further said there is need to build climate change resilient infrastructure for both Primary, Secondary and Community Day Secondary Schools to ensure the continuation of teaching and learning.
‘’We need our schools to be energized with electricity and connected with internet at all times to enable our system to continue with learning during climate change related crisis,’’ she added.
‘’I urge you to support us in areas of ICT for online and off line learning to ensure that leaners are not missing out whenever they are at home.”
She said the provision of gadgets as well as teachers training will play a critical role in making learning possible at all times.
She pointed out that ministry of education through Shaping Our Future Foundation (SOFF) is working hard towards intensifying other strategies to improve technical and vocational skills in the country.
Taking her turn, Susan Liautaud, Vice President for Global Partnership Education hailed the first lady through Shaping Our Future Foundation for taking a leading role in championing girl child education in Malawi.
She said there is a need to do more in order to encourage girls to go further with education despite the challenges they are facing.
Liautaud said issues to do with girl child education, gender based violence as well as early child marriages need to be addressed and government must prioritise the issues to ensure that girls remain in school.
‘’I am so inspired by what the First Lady Monica Chakwera is doing to improve education of girls in Malawi hence the need to support her programs,’’ said Liautaud.
She emphasized the importance of early childhood development saying it helps to give the right direction to learners at an early stage.
She revealed that Global Partners for Education will engage other partners to fully support SOFF initiatives to improve basic education in Malawi.