School and Education in Malawi

In Malawi the education follows an 8-2-2 system, where the primary school lasts for 8 years, the secondary school for 2 years and the secondary school for 2 years. According to the World Bank, 66 percent of the country’s population over the age of 15 could write and read in 2015.

Basic education

The official school age is 6 years. Primary school is in principle free, but not compulsory. The country has invested heavily in building up the education system and has received support from international aid organizations. From 1994 elementary school should be free. This resulted in an increase in the student body which exceeded the capacity of the schools. Classrooms are often crowded and it is not uncommon for a class to consist of over 100 students. About 14 percent of Malawi children do not attend school, and only one-third of girls reach 8th grade, compared to 41 percent for boys. Child marriage and extremely early pregnancy are among the reasons why so many girls do not complete basic education.

Higher education

Higher education is offered at vocational schools, colleges and universities. The length of the education varies. Due to high demand for teachers, teacher education has been shortened in recent years. Only about one percent of the population aged 18-22 received higher education in 2011.

Malawi Country Flag

In 2014, Malawi became the first Norwegian pilot country in education. In cooperation with the UN organizations UNESCO, UNFPA and the Food Program, Norway contributes NOK 114 million for the years 2014-16. Special emphasis is placed on education for girls and priority areas of focus are school food, health services, continuing education of teachers and measures to combat gender-related violence.