Lilongwe, July 24 – U.S. Ambassador to Malawi Virginia Palmer, Malawi’s Minister of Education, Science and Technology Bright Msaka, Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Affairs Emmanuel Fabiano, and USAID Mission Director Littleton Tazewell have signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) to expand existing secondary schools and install new secondary schools throughout Malawi under the U.S. Government’s new Secondary Education Expansion for Development (SEED) initiative. As part of its efforts to combat HIV, the United States intends to provide up to $90 million (MK 65.4 billion) to build secondary schools across Malawi and additional funding to provide youth friendly health services. In the MOU, the Government of Malawi committed to fund training and salaries for teachers to staff the new schools and maintenance of the new structures; to support the provision of youth friendly health services near secondary schools; to incorporate comprehensive sex education in the national curriculum to keep young people HIV-free; and to enact a phased-in reduction of secondary school tuition fees.
“Through this commitment, the United States and Malawi will ensure more adolescent girls attend secondary school, which will better keep them HIV free. Studies have shown that for every year a girl attends secondary school her risk of contracting HIV throughout her lifetime decreases. The first tender is out to increase the number of classrooms in urban secondary schools across Malawi. Malawi’s program will demonstrate the critical link between girls’ education and public health for the rest of Africa and the world, and provide important benefits for Malawi’s development,” said Ambassador Palmer.
Minister of Education, Science and Technology Bright Msaka said, “I am very excited to sign this Memorandum of Understanding on the expansion of secondary education. We are confident that this increased access to education will reduce the transmission of HIV to Malawi’s youth and help us break the back of the HIV epidemic. You are all aware that the secondary subsector has not grown much compared to the other subsectors in education. This has led to many children, especially girls, being denied the opportunity to receive secondary education due to various challenges we have been facing. This is an important subsector that will drive the economy of this country as graduates from this level go into different strands of development due to the various skills that they acquire. It is only a skilled workforce that can contribute effectively to the development of this country. I am therefore happy that we are getting support in the area of our most need. I am also excited that the focus on the girl child will ensure that our girls not only come to school, but they stay and complete their secondary education to reach even greater heights. My ministry will work with all relevant partners to ensure that there is zero tolerance on school-based gender violence; that communities care and maintain all infrastructures that will be built in this program; and that youth friendly health services are provided to our youths close to their schools. The introduction of the secondary school tuition fees reduction will go a long way in assisting disadvantaged students’ access secondary education. My ministry will ensure that no disadvantaged student is left behind on this program. The government also commits to recruit qualified teachers in all secondary schools to improve the quality of teaching and learning in our schools. The Government of Malawi, through the Ministry of Education, Science and Technology is committed to ensuring that each and every child in Malawi receives the education he or she deserves for the betterment of the Malawi nation.”
Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Affairs Emmanuel Fabiano concurred, saying: “Education is the most important asset a parent can give to a child and a government to its citizens. It is therefore most gratifying for Malawi to have the US Government to partner with the Malawi Government in empowering the youth with education. This will contribute to the sustainable socio-economic development of Malawi.”