In 2013, Parliament passed an eight-year compulsory school law for all children, but the reform has not yet been implemented and many children receive inadequate education.
The compulsory school covers eight years. Thereafter, a four-year extension phase takes place. When compulsory school became free of charge in 1994, over a million new pupils flooded in, but the school system was not expanded at a sufficient pace to give all pupils a good education. There is still a great lack of classrooms and educated teachers. Up to the fourth grade, the teaching takes place in local languages and then in English.
- COUNTRYAAH: Country facts of Malawi, including geography profile, population statistics, and business data.
Almost all children start school, but just under 60 percent complete the first eight years. Only around 30 percent continue to the next stage. Many children and young people drop out of school because they have to work and contribute to the family’s livelihood. Among those who drop off, girls are over-represented.
There are three universities in the country and some colleges. A smaller group of Malawians study at foreign universities, mainly in the United Kingdom and the United States.
- Andyeducation: Introduction to education system in Malawi, including compulsory schooling and higher education.
FACTS – EDUCATION
Proportion of children starting primary school
96.3 percent (2009)
Number of pupils per teacher in primary school
Reading and writing skills
62.1 percent (2015)
Public expenditure on education as a percentage of GDP
14.3 percent (2017)
Public expenditure on education as a percentage of the state budget
14.3 percent (2017)
Voting is prohibited by law
A new law comes into force that forces parties to account for what donations they have received. At the same time, the law makes it illegal for politicians to hand out money or gifts to win supporters before an election – something that all parties had a habit of doing. Candidates convicted of violating the new law now face up to five years in prison.
President Mutharika exempt from bribery charges
The country’s anti-corruption authority dismisses the suspicions directed at President Mutharika for bribery (see July 2, 2018). The large sum that a company put into an account in Mutharika’s name was intended for the DPP government party and not for Mutharika personally, the head of the anti-corruption authority states. A spokesman for the human rights organization Human Rights Defenders criticizes the statement and says the authority appears to have been politically manipulated. DPP states that the money should be repaid.
The Vice President founds a new party
Vice President Saulos Chilima founds a new party under the name United Transformation Movement (UTM). Chilima states that UTM will fight unemployment and corruption. Joining the party are some other prominent figures such as Parliamentary Speaker Richard Msowoya.
President Mutharika in corruption scandal
The country’s largest opposition party The Malawi Congress Party (MCP) joins several organizations demanding the resignation of President Peter Mutharika. Mutharika is accused of receiving a large bribe from a food company, Pioneer Investments, which was awarded government contracts. Shortly after the company was paid the equivalent of $ 3.8 million to deliver food to the country’s police force, a sum equivalent to $ 200,000 was deposited into an account written by the president. Mutharika dismisses the accusations he dismisses as “fake news” spreading to undermine his position ahead of next year’s presidential election. Malawi’s two largest newspapers have reported the allegations and cited a report that leaked from the country’s anti-corruption authority.
The Vice President jumps off in protest
Vice President Saulos Chilima announces that he is leaving the ruling DPP in protest against corruption and nepotism under President Mutharika’s rule. However, he stays as Vice President and President Mutharika has no power to dismiss Chilima.
Within the DPP, a crack occurred in which a group formed around Chilima and tried to persuade him to challenge Mutharika about the party leadership. None of this will now happen, but Chilima is holding the door open for candidacy in the 2019 presidential election.
Mnangagwe visits Beijing
President Mnangagwa visits Beijing and is welcomed by China’s President Xi Jinping, who calls him “an old friend of China”. Mnangagwa received his military training in China in the 1960s when China provided guerrillas in Zimbabwe with weapons and training. China supported Zimbabwe’s ex-President Mugabe throughout the years when it came into conflict with the West and China is one of Zimbabwe’s largest trading partners. Xi Jinping now promises to work for continued good cooperation with Mnangagwe. The two presidents sign six cooperation agreements as well as an agreement on emergency food assistance to Zimbabwe.
Band back from exile
Former President Joyce Banda comes home to Malawi after living in exile since 2014 when she fled the country, accused of being involved in the big corruption legacy of cashgate (see September 2013). Banda says she is not afraid of being arrested even though she still has an arrest warrant hanging over her. A police spokesman confirms that the arrest warrant is in effect but does not want to say whether Banda will be arrested or not. Earlier in the year, the National Anti-Corruption Unit announced that it had found no evidence against Banda.
Government critics demonstrate
Thousands of people walk out and demonstrate in six cities in protest against corruption and other abuses under President Mutharika’s rule. Despite threats from Mutharika’s supporters to disrupt the demonstrations, everything is calm. This is the first time that hostile manifestations have been held across the country since 2011 when 20 people were shot dead by police during a protest wave aimed at the government.
Free Trade Agreement in Africa
Malawi is one of 44 countries to sign a Free Trade Agreement at the African Union Summit in Rwanda. The agreement must be ratified at the national level before the AFCFTA free trade area can become a reality, but it is seen as a historically important step towards increased trade exchange within Africa.