Expanding post-primary education in Malawi: Are private schools the answer?

  • Chimombo J
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Abstract

The study was concerned with the range of public and private provision of secondary education and how it is configured in terms of key dimensions of participation, staffing, curriculum, management and costs. It sought to explore how private schools have been developing to meet rapidly growing demand for secondary education of different types in Malawi, and to develop policy?relevant insights based on evidence using illustrative case studies. The evidence showed that private schools are playing a pivotal role in supplementing government efforts in secondary school provisioning. However, lack of control and regulatory mechanisms has meant that the quality of the education offered in both Community Day Secondary Schools (CDSSs) and private schools is very low. The development of secondary schooling policy in Malawi revolves around the striking of proper balances in the quality of education provided by CDSSs and the lower?end private schools. The tug of war in the contribution towards increased secondary school access seems to be between the CDSSs and the private schools and the extent of contribution by the private sector will be determined by what policies are put in place by the government to improve the CDSSs. There is need to establish some regulatory mechanisms so that access to private school is within the limits of parental affordability, otherwise private schools may not be the answer to problems of secondary education in poor Malawi.
The study was concerned with the range of public and private provision of secondary education and how it is configured in terms of key dimensions of participation, staffing, curriculum, management and costs. It sought to explore how private schools have been developing to meet rapidly growing demand for secondary education of different types in Malawi, and to develop policy?relevant insights based on evidence using illustrative case studies. The evidence showed that private schools are playing a pivotal role in supplementing government efforts in secondary school provisioning. However, lack of control and regulatory mechanisms has meant that the quality of the education offered in both Community Day Secondary Schools (CDSSs) and private schools is very low. The development of secondary schooling policy in Malawi revolves around the striking of proper balances in the quality of education provided by CDSSs and the lower?end private schools. The tug of war in the contribution towards increased secondary school access seems to be between the CDSSs and the private schools and the extent of contribution by the private sector will be determined by what policies are put in place by the government to improve the CDSSs. There is need to establish some regulatory mechanisms so that access to private school is within the limits of parental affordability, otherwise private schools may not be the answer to problems of secondary education in poor Malawi.

Author-supplied keywords

  • Community day secondary schools
  • Education
  • Malawi
  • Private schools
  • Secondary education

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Authors

  • Joseph Chimombo

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