This week at The Chazuka Project, we review the educational diet for children in both Malawi and the UK.
Primary education in Malawi
Malawian children enter primary school at the age of six and stay until they are fourteen years of age. The government does not fund education before the age of six, meaning the nurseries and preschools (which only sometimes exist) are often run on a voluntary basis.
Many of Malawi’s children do not receive any form of education before they are six years old. As a result, over 75% of Malawian children entering primary school cannot recognise a single letter.
For the first four years of their primary schooling, Malawian children study in their local, traditional language, before being introduced to the English language. In 1994, primary education became free, which resulted in a further 1.4 million children entering the classroom for the first time. This seismic shift in attendees weakened the infrastructure of schools considerably. Poor sanitation, limited materials, a lack of qualified teachers and huge class sizes (averaging 89 in some areas) caused many Malawians to lose faith in their education system.
Poverty and education
As the majority of Malawi’s people live below the poverty line, many children simply cannot focus on their schooling. Domestic responsibilities, illness, pregnancy, arranged marriage and hunger are all contributing factors to primary school dropout rates in the country. Thus, only around half of school going children finish the first four years of school and more than 6% of Malawian children are not accessing any form of education.
Before The Chazuka Project, our children were amongst these 6%. Now they can come to school every day and enjoy a nutritious meal to help them focus on their studies.
How this differs from education in the UK
Although the amount of children living in poverty in the UK is rising, it remains one of the world’s richest economies.
Children between the ages of five and eighteen receive a compulsory, free and full-time education with a minority accessing a fee-paying, private education. It is also possible for parents in the UK to access free pre-school funding for their children.
On average, a U.K. primary school is allocated a resource budget of £41,780 which provides access to around 69 computers in each school. In 2019, three-quarters of children in the UK achieved the expected standard in reading aged eleven.
Making a change in Malawi
We all know that education is an essential part of a child’s development, be it socially, personally or academically. Education is the driving force in alleviating poverty in Malawi and The Chazuka Project aims to empower the nation and its people by placing education at its heart.
Our mission is to support the young people of Chazuka to gain the knowledge, skills and confidence to build a brighter future. So far, together with the locals, we have built the community’s first nursery, and Teacher Ashia and Teacher Grace have been working tirelessly to ensure that the children receive the best possible education. The holistic education that our teachers provide, covering mathematics, literacy and expressive arts, develops the whole child.
Our work is not only for Chazuka’s children, it binds together a community, filling it with hope and possibility.
It’s almost time for the children of Chazuka to go BACK TO SCHOOL as September is upon us. Everything a child needs to stay in school for one month costs £15.
Please support our work and donate today.