- Early childhood care and education (Entry/Establishment ○ Financial operation ○ Quality of teaching and learning ○ Equitable access ○ Quality assurance, monitoring and accountability)
- Primary and secondary education (Entry/Establishment ○ Financial operation ○ Quality of teaching and learning ○ Equitable access ○ Quality assurance, monitoring and accountability)
- Tertiary education (Entry/Establishment ○ Financial operation ○ Quality of teaching and learning ○ Equitable access ○ Quality assurance, monitoring and accountability)
The 2013 Education Act identifies non-state actors operating in education, which include “all persons, institutions or organizations which promote the education of the people of Malawi” and defines the term "proprietor". In parallel, the 2009-13 Education Sector Implementation Plan states that the education system “belongs to everyone” (p. 25) and “reinvigorating it will take the combined efforts of the Government, private sector, development partners, civil society and parents/guardians” (p. 25). In addition, the 2017-21 National Strategy on Inclusive Education refers directly to non-state actors, which include civil society organisations, non-governmental organisations, the private sector, disabled peoples organisations and faith-based organisations.
At the tertiary education level, the 2011 National Council for Higher Education Act (Art. 19) states that “no person other than a public higher education institution or organ of state shall provide higher education unless that person is registered or provisionally registered as a private higher education institution”.
Primary education (six to 11 years old) is compulsory and free in public schools, while pre-primary education (three to five years old), secondary education (12 to 17 years old) and higher education (18 to 22 years old) are not mandatory. In 2018, three-quarters of schools were public (76% compared to 24% private).
The different types of public secondary schools include community day schools (CDSS) which are located in rural areas, receive high government subsidies and have a gender quota; conventional secondary schools (CSS); boarding schools where only selected students are admitted based on their results in the final secondary school examination (PSLCE); and open day secondary schools (ODSS) which are located in public secondary schools and provide part-time education to learners of any age. Religious instruction is given in every state school and college.
Non-state managed, state schools
No information was found.
Non-state funded, state schools
No information was found.
Independent, non-state schools
Few schools are independent non-state schools (3% of primary schools and 16% of secondary schools in 2015). These schools are free to establish although there are tuition fees. Different providers are allowed to operate independent private schools such as community, not-for-profit, for-profit, and faith-based institutions. Some independent private schools follow an alternative curriculum and administer international examinations. In addition, many independent schools have been set up as charitable foundations with a focus on specific groups of students, such as children orphaned by the HIV/AIDS pandemic (at Jacaranda School, which is run by the Jacaranda Foundation) or disadvantaged girls (at the Raising Malawi Academy for Girls, run by the Raising Malawi Foundation).
The shift to free primary education has resulted in greater numbers of primary school graduates and limited public resources. This has forced Malawi to rely on private education and low-fee private (LFP) schools. These schools have come to represent a “significant portion of current secondary education in Malawi” (p. 4) as well as a potential source of further growth. Most of these schools are owned by entrepreneurs but other schools are mission schools or are owned and operated by non-governmental organizations (NGOs). Most are funded through only school fees and the owners’ savings, but others are funded partially through the government or charitable organizations.
State-funded (government-aided), non-state schools
Most of these “assisted schools” are owned by faith-based organizations (58% of primary schools and 15% of secondary schools), such as the Church of Central Africa, Presbyterian (CCAP) or the Catholic Church, which are organized under the Association of Christian Educators (ACEM). They are primarily funded by the government and operate under the same conditions as public schools in terms of management and regulation mechanisms, such as the mechanisms governing student enrollment; teacher recruitment, deployment, and payment; supervision and inspection; curriculum and provision of instructional materials, but they have autonomy over their operating budgets.
Contracted, non-state schools
No information was found.
No clear information was found on homeschooling.
However, with schools closed during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, NGOs and international humanitarian organisations such as World Vision are working with parents to ensure that children continue learning from their homes.
Market contracted (Voucher schools)
No information was found.
Private schools cannot be established without the approval of the Minister, however, the country fight against illegal schools. No information was found on the number of unregistered schools.
The Malawi Ministry of Education, Science, and Technology (MoEST) designs and develops the national curriculum for both the public and the non-state sectors. It also monitors, assesses and evaluates the education system and provides mechanisms for a transparent and accountable education system at all levels and all sectors. The MoEST has different agencies and directorates. For instance, the Malawi National Examinations Board (MANEB) is responsible for developing, administering, and processing national examinations in all public and private primary and secondary schools. There is also a Directorate of Basic Education and a Directorate of Secondary & Higher Education, which both aim to improve access to quality education in public and private institutions. However, there is no agency responsible for monitoring school action plans. Early Childhood Development is under the Ministry of Gender Child Disability and Social Welfare (MoGCDSW). District, city, and town councils implement early childhood development policy through Local district social welfare offices in coordination with the local community. Early Childhood Development implementation and orientations are coordinated and managed by the IECD Coordinators in the MoGCDSW and in the Local district social welfare. Finally, the National Council for Higher Education, which includes a Vice-Chancellor representing private universities, has the mandate to accredit both public and private higher education institutions.
The country does not have a religious ministry separate from MoEST that takes decisions on non-state education.
Vision: The 2017 Constitution provides the legal foundation for private schools to operate. It states that private schools need to be registered with the government and provide a level of education at least equal to that of the public school system. It states that “private schools and other private institutions of higher learning shall be permissible, provided that: a. such schools or institutions are registered with a State department in accordance with the law; b. the standards maintained by such schools or institutions are not inferior to official standards in State schools” (Art. 25). The 2013 Education Act also applies to public and private primary and secondary education and does not include early childhood care and education and higher education. The 2000 Policy and Investment Framework, the 2011-16 Growth and Development Strategy II and the 2008-17 National Education Sector Plan cover also both sectors. Furthermore, the 2015 National Education Standards for Primary and Secondary Education specify expected outcomes which should be delivered by all education providers in public and private institutions. Finally, the 2013 National Education Policy (NEP) recognises the critical roles of local communities, development partners and the private sector.
Most early childhood development (ECD) services in the country are provided by non-state actors. Unlike private run ECD centres such as pre-schools or nursery schools, community-run ECD centres are voluntary based and are managed by community members. The ECD Policy (2017) guides integrated ECD interventions and refers to faith-based organizations, community-based organizations, non-governmental organizations, the private sector, the development partners and the general public as key actors to promote the development of all children. No official information from the government was found on the prevalence of each of these types of institutions.
According to the WorldBank, preprimary education is provided free of charge by the community or private organizations. As of 2015, Malawi had 11,105 childcare centres serving more than 1 million children aged 3 to 5. The vast majority (8,198) were publicly run community-based childcare centres (CBCCs), while the rest were private preschools (1,598), crèches (943), and daycares (375). Enrolment is not universal and attendance is not compulsory in CBCCs and reached 38% of the total number of ECD-aged children.
Registration and approval: The Ministry of Gender, Children, Disability and Social Welfare is in charge of the registration and accreditation of ECD services. National ECD Operational and Accreditation Guidelines were published in 2013 (document not accessible). The Early Childhood Development Policy (2017) provides guidelines for model infrastructures, setting standards at the centre level, and increasing support for resource centres.
Licence: The Ministry of Gender, Children, Disability and Social Welfare delivers licences.
Profit-making: No information was found.
Taxes and subsidies: No regulations have been found. However, the government lobbies with donors and the private sector for increased funding to ECD activities in both sectors. For instance, the ECD Policy (2017) aims to develop a private partnership system in the implementation of ECD services to benefit the private sector and vulnerable children. The Ministry of Education provides grants to private schools; budgets in government-funded private schools are equivalent to those of public schools.
Curriculum or learning standards: The 2017 ECD Policy provides guidelines and coordination mechanisms regarding ECD programmes and the curriculum in state and non-state institutions. Syllabus guidelines were published in 2012 (document not available).
Teaching profession: The 2017 ECD Policy aims to build the capacity of teachers in public and private schools to promote child development and stimulation in homes, ECD centres, health facilities and early primary schools, and to support transitioning children. No information was found on certification requirements, hiring and firing procedures and salaries. The Association of Early Childhood Development in Malawi (AECDM) offers tailor-made training for ECD educators. In 2015, the government did not have an accreditation system of ECD training for caregivers and educators in the country. The University of Malawi, Chancellor College, offers training in ECD.
Fee-setting: In urban areas, accessibility is mostly hindered by the high fees charged by most ECD institutions. In this regard, no regulations have been found on fee-setting.
Admission selection and processes: There seems to be no regulation on accessibility and selection although most children in rural communities lack opportunities for school readiness preparation due to an absence of ECD centres, while children living in urban areas also face difficulties in accessing private ECD centres which are not affordable.
Policies for vulnerable groups: The 2017 ECD Policy is in line with the national policy on gender, which emphasizes the need to bring up children in a gender-balanced way and implementation of ECD services need to be gender-sensitive.
Reporting requirements: The 2017 ECD Policy aims to clarify the boundaries within which all stakeholders are to operate and can create accountability mechanisms.
Inspection: The 2017 ECD Policy aims to establish an inspectorate of ECD programmes within the national ECD coordinating body.
Child assessments: No information was found.
Sanctions: No information was found. The 2003 National Policy on Orphans and Vulnerable Children aims to develop guidelines for the establishment, suspension or closure of support groups organisations, NGOs and other institutions.
Registration and approval: The 2013 Education Act is the key regulation for this education level which states that any person (community, not-for-profit, for-profit, and faith-based) may establish a registered private school or college at their own costs and expense. Private institutions should comply with different conditions to be registered, which include adequate premises and facilities and funds to guarantee the school maintenance. The proprietor must also be a resident of Malawi. Furthermore, private schools should notify the Ministry regarding any change in the type of education provided, admission process, ownership or transfer to a new site. The Register of Schools and Colleges includes all non-state schools that are allowed to impart education. Private and public schools are subject to equivalent operating standards. Schools must provide facilities in accordance with the prescribed minimum requirements applicable to a school or college.
Licence: No private school or college can be established without the approval of the Minister, who issues certificates of registration. That said, according to the World Bank SABER, the regulatory guidelines are not clear for new institutions to become registered.
Water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH): The policy on WASH in the Education sector is guided by core policy documents, which include the 2007 National Water Policy; the 2008 National Sanitation Policy; the 2005 National Decentralization Policy; the 2004 National Gender Policy; and the National HIV Policy, among others. These policies provide a framework for facilitating improved WASH in primary and secondary schools. In Malawi, the UNICEF WASH programme aims to achieve universal and equitable access to safe and affordable drinking water and adequate sanitation and hygiene for all, particularly in schools.
Profit-making: No information was found.
Taxes and subsidies: The Ministry of Education provides grants to private and public schools and budgets in government-funded private schools are equivalent to those of public schools. Government-funded private schools are not required to report on the use of public funds for continued financial support.
Curriculum or learning standards: In general, the curriculum in private schools complies with the national curricula, but some independent private schools follow an alternative curriculum and administer international examinations. The syllabus for religious instruction in all schools and colleges is also prescribed by the Minister.
Textbooks and learning materials: Instructional materials must be approved by the Ministry and the list of such books is published in a local newspaper.
Teaching profession: The central government set the standards for teachers. In addition, schools must keep a record of the teaching staff with their qualifications, as teachers must be sufficiently qualified for the efficient provision of quality education. Private schools can make their own decisions on “the appointment, deployment, and dismissal of teachers, teacher salary levels and class size standards”. No information was found on salaries. The Teachers Council of Malawi takes part in all matters affecting the education and training of teachers in public and private schools. Many non-state organizations, such as DAPP Malawi, Wungwero Book Foundation and AYISE provide teacher education.
The regulations on non-state education do not explicitly state whether teachers in private schools are covered by the same provisions as those in the public service. However, the country adopted the 2000 Employment Act which applies to the private sector and the Government, including any public authority or enterprise.
Corporal punishment: Corporal punishment is unlawful in schools under article 19 of the 2017 Constitution, which prohibits corporal punishment “in connection with any judicial proceedings or any other proceedings before any organ of the state”.
Other safety measures and COVID-19: No further information was found.
Fee-setting: Schools are free to set their own tuition fees and profit-making is not regulated. The fees vary widely: religious schools charge fees between MK 85,000 (USD 100) up to MK 150,000-200,000 (USD 170-230), while other private schools such as individual-owned private schools can cost from MK 50,000 per term (USD 57) to MK 1 million (USD 1,135) per term in elite international schools.
Admission selection and processes: The 2013 Education Act (Section 36) stipulates that state schools shall not impose restrictions of whatever nature with respect to the admission of students, but does not mention non-state schools. That said, the MANEB develops and implements systems of tests to facilitate the proper selection of students in secondary institutions and government-funded private schools are allowed to set their own admission criteria and can select students based on academic performance and geography.
Policies for vulnerable groups: The government does not provide tax relief or cash transfers to students who attend independent private schools. However, the Directorate Of Secondary And Distance Education has the mandate to provide scholarships and money transfers, which include bursaries to study at the Kamuzu Academy, government bursaries in public secondary schools, bursaries to support vulnerable girls, etc.
School board: In assisted primary schools, local governments should establish a school management committee in which the parents, community, proprietor and the local government are represented. In parallel, in assisted schools and colleges, a Board of Governors can oversee school management with previous authorization and agreement of both the Ministry of Education and the school owners. No guidelines for unassisted schools were found.
School inspection: All schools are subject to inspection once every two years. Inspection reports cover enrolments and school performance and make a list of strengths and weaknesses.
Student assessment: Private institutions that follow the primary and secondary curriculum register their students to take the MANEB examinations after any approved course. The Malawi National Examinations Board (MANEB) is responsible for developing, administering, and processing national examinations in all public and private primary and secondary schools.
Diplomas and degrees: MANEB awards certificates and diplomas to successful candidates in such examinations.
Sanctions: No sanctions are in place for underperformance.
Tertiary education includes public, private (registered) or affiliate teacher training colleges, technical and vocational training schools and universities. The enrolment rate in private higher education institutions is relatively low (5.8% in 2010). The National Council for Higher Education keeps and maintains a register of all private higher education institutions.
The 2011 National Council for Higher Education Act (is the key regulation for this education level.
Registration and approval: The 2017 Constitution stipulates that registered private institutions of higher education are permitted if their level of education is equal to or higher than that of public institutions. A Charter describes the basis for the establishment and accreditation of a private higher education institution. It states that a person, institution or organ of state must be registered to provide higher education. In this regard, an application for registration must be made to the Council and a form must be completed. For higher education, there is a fee for the registration of the institution. Private institutions must have suitable facilities to be registered, including land made available for the exclusive use of the institution.
Licence: An accreditation certificate is issued.
Profit-making: No information was found.
Taxes and subsidies: No information was found.
Curriculum or learning standards: Learning programmes leading to qualifications must be registered under the National Qualifications Framework. The 2011 National Council for Higher Education Act states that the Higher Education Quality Assurance and Accreditation Committee shall develop and implement an accreditation and evaluation framework for learning programmes offered by higher education institutions. The National Council for Higher Education monitors the relevance and frequency of review of the curriculum for each programme for comparability nationally and internationally.
Teaching profession: Teaching staff in private institutions must be “sufficiently qualified”. Higher education institutions have to communicate to the State the academic qualifications of all teachers. Institutions must ensure that no teacher is discriminated against in recruitment. The 2011 National Council for Higher Education Act (Art. 21) states that every charter of a private higher education institution shall contain information on the appointment, removal and conditions of service of members of the teaching staff.
Fee-setting: No information was found.
Admission selection and processes Private institutions must ensure that the admission of students takes place without discrimination. Every charter of a private higher education institution shall contain information on the admission rights of students (National Council for Higher Education Act, 2011).
Board: The 2011 National Council for Higher Education Act (Art. 21) states that every charter of a private higher education institution shall contain information on the administration, membership and governance of the institution.
Reporting requirements: Every higher education institution shall prepare and submit to the Council an annual report of its activities within six months after the end of each academic year and a detailed annual assessment report (National Council for Higher Education Act, 2011).
Inspection: The National Council for Higher Education evaluates the minimum standards for higher education set by the Council. It focuses on the physical, human, financial, teaching and learning resources, the management and operational procedures and the standards of academic life focusing on teaching, research, community service and expert service. The National Council for Higher Education also evaluates the performance of higher education institutions every academic cycle and publishes the results of the accreditation process in media.
Student assessment: The 2011 National Council for Higher Education Act aims to assess, evaluate and recognize qualifications attained at a higher education institution. Also, for each programme, the accreditation process considers the standards attained by those that have graduated during the period of assessment.
Diplomas and degrees: Private higher education institutions can deliver certificates, diplomas, degrees or other academic qualifications.
Sanctions on school closures: The Ministry of Education has also the right to shut down any private institution that fails to meet the new standards.
According to the latest Southern and Eastern Africa Consortium for Monitoring Educational Quality (SACMEQ), up to 80% of Grade 6 students took private tutoring lessons in 2000. In the country, private tutoring is believed to be associated with lower quality education systems.
No information was found.
No information was found.
No information was found.