The Republic of Malawi is a landlocked country in southeast Africa that is bordered by Zambia to the northwest, Tanzania to the northeast, and Mozambique on the east, south and west. The country is separated from Tanzania and Mozambique by Lake Malawi. Malawi is, over 118,000 km2 with an estimated population of 16,777,547, a highly-dens populated country in Africa.
With an annual per-capita income of 320 US-$ (World Bank, 2012) Malawi is one of the world’s poorest countries. Around 85% of the population lives in rural areas. High population growth rates (3, 2% UNESCO Institute of Statistics (UIS) 2011) pose major problems, especially as regard to food security and social service provision. One other major constraint on development is the very high HIV/AIDS prevalence rate.
The investments for the construction of a comprehensive education system by the Republic of Malawi are above-average (5,4% of the GDP; (UIS 2011)). Malawi counts on a strong commitment of the international donor community in the promotion of the education sector. The access to primary education for boys and girls is meanwhile close to 100% (UIS 2011). But major challenges remain in order to reach regional and international standards: Rates of attendance in primary education are low, repetition after the first years of schooling is high (20% (2011)) and only half of the pupils succeed to reach final grade (51% (2010)) (Global Monitoring Report 2014). The system is very centralized, and education management has to cope with a shortage of human resources, skills and institutional capacity.
According to the multi-perspective approach of the research design instrumental case studies are conducted at selected schools and its communities in both countries. The following criteria for selecting schools in Malawi were taken into account: location, language, disabilities. All selected schools are public primary schools with a coeducational setting.
One of the selected schools is located in the South of the country in a poor area. The school accommodates children with and without special needs. A Special Education Needs teacher is visiting the school every other week. In the Northern part of the country a school in a remote area forms part of the study. A local language is predominantly spoken in this area. The school has a resource center for children with disabilities. Additionally to these two rural schools, two urban schools and their communities are included in the research as case studies. One of these urban schools has a resource center.
Contact the Team
To contact the team in Malawi e-mail Dr Grace Chiuye (g.chiuye(a)refie.org), the national team leader.
For a first impression of the participatory research processes within the countries, take a look at the Workshop Reports of the national Expert Meetings in the field of Inclusive Education.