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Kids struggle to finish school in Malawi

13 March 2012, 12:43

Malawi – Malawi, one of the 20 poorest countries in the world is unlikely to meet the millennium development goal of ensuring every child completes a quality education by 2015, the Guardian reported on Monday.

According to the report, enrolment numbers rose from 78% to 83% between 2005 and 200, but dropout rates, though improved, remained high.

The report said that primary education has been free since 1994, but the system was ill-equipped to cope when attendance rates increased by more than a million in a year.

"Nearly 20 years later, the struggle to meet demand persists, with chronic shortages of both teachers and classrooms. The average class size is 90 – compared with 40 recommended by the Global Campaign for Education – but reaches several hundred in some schools.

"The ratio of qualified teachers to pupils has been worsening since 2004, and there is a particular shortage of female teachers. Tens of thousands of new classrooms are needed.  Those provided by Madonna's renewed interest in education in Malawi would be a drop in the ocean," the report said.

Toilets are primitive; female pupils, who use only pieces of cloth for sanitary protection, simply stay away when they have their periods. Some schools lack clean water, the report added.


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