Education in Malawi

Joined Commonwealth: 1964

Population: 15,263,000 (2009)

GDP p.c. growth: 0.5% p.a. 1990-2009

UN HDI 2010: world ranking 153

Net primary enrolment: 91.3% (2009)

Net secondary enrolment: 25.0% (2009)

Adult literacy: 73.7% (2009)

There are eight years of compulsory education starting at age six. The primary and secondary net enrolment ratios are 91.3% and 25%, respectively, and gross enrolment ratio for all levels of education combined is 59.3% (2009). Some 42% of pupils complete primary school (2008). The school year starts in January.

Tertiary education is provided at the University of Malawi, comprising the College of Medicine and Malawi Polytechnic in Blantyre, Bunda College of Agriculture in Lilongwe, and Chancellor College in Zomba. Mzuzu University (since 1999) and University of Livingstonia (2003) are located in the Northern Region. The female-male ratio for gross enrolment in tertiary enrolment is tertiary education is 0.26:1(2007). Literacy among people aged 15-24 is 87% (2009).

Following the rapid increase in the number of tertiary education institutions, the government has tranferred responsibility for technical and vocational training from the Ministry of Education to the Ministry of Labour and Vocational Training.

The government strategy for education highlights increasing access to educational opportunities for all Malawians at all levels of the system; raising the quality and relevance of education; reducing inequalities across social groups and regions, including offering bursaries to girls and women, children with special needs and those in rural communities, to improve the participation of such groups in formal education; and pursuing the principle that those in society who can afford it should contribute to the cost of education provision.