Civil Society Education Coalition (CSEC) has underscored the need to invest in education at the moment when the sector has been hit hard by Covid-19 pandemic.
The remarks come on the sidelines of State President Dr. Lazarus Chakwera’s trip to attend Global Education Summit in London, United Kingdom.
Through a press statement, CSEC Executive Director Benedicto Kondowe says government should take advantage of the summit to translate the domestic financial commitment Dr. Chakwera is expected to pronounce at the summit into the national budget.
“At this year’s Summit, His Excellency, Dr. Lazarus Chakwera is expected to pronounce Malawi’s domestic financing commitment to the education sector with over 20% of public expenditure excluding debt being allocated to the education sector. However, this pledge will mean nothing if government does not take extra steps to translate the same in the national budget,” said Kondowe.
The CSEC Executive Director further says replenishment goes beyond the summit as the country’s current education financing commitments for the next five years reveal startling gaps and incoherence that should be seriously reviewed.
“We implore government to commit towards reducing its debt and lobby for debt cancellation. The education share needs to be at the very least 4 percent of the GDP and at least 15 percent of the National Budget as recommended by GPE. Due to deficits in investments, we are seeing that education share, even though it’s lion’s share of the budget, it is only 50% of the NESIP budget,” said Kondowe.
Kondowe further said there is a need to increase funding for Primary schools.
“Moreover, while the expenditures under the primary school budget are within the GPE recommended share, it needed to be pointed out that over 90 percent of the expenditure is for salaries and very little left for anything else to improve quality. As such the subsector still needs more funding,” said Kondowe.
Kondowe however notes that pledges the country has made do not take into account Early Childhood Development, Adult Literacy Education and TEVET that do not fall under the Ministry of Education and are oftentimes maligned.
“The commitments that Malawi has made towards education for the GPE replenishment from 2021-2025 are below the annual projections of the National Education Strategy Investment Plan (NESIP) 2020 – 2030.
“Therefore, it remains unclear how the ministry plans to cover this deficit. The entire purpose of NESIP is to guide the budgeting and expenditure projections towards 2030 and it needs to be strategic, otherwise, its purpose would be defeated,” said Kondowe.
Global Partnership for Education (GPE) through the Global Education Summit mobilizes resources from donors to replenish its fund and be able to give every child a quality education. The upcoming Summit presents an ambitious commitment by donors to help the GPE to reach its target of at least $5 billion over 5 years. This year’s GPE Replenishment Summit taking place in London from 28th – 29th July 2021