Malawi Institute of Education
Who we are
The Malawi Institute of Education (MIE) is a parastatal organization, which means we are managed partially by the government and partially through nongovernmental efforts. MIE was established in 1982 with the goal of improving and maintaining the quality of education in Malawi. We are responsible for developing curriculum, helping with the training and development of teachers, and organizing the distribution of required learning materials to schools in Malawi.
Projects that the organization has started in the past and continue to execute in some schools include In-school Life Skills Education Project (Primary); Life Skills, Sexual and Reproductive Health Education Project (Secondary); Human Rights Education and Democracy (targeting primary school head teachers and teachers); and Citizenship Education Project (targeting the secondary education sector). The Institute is made up of individuals who are skilled in many different areas, including curriculum specialists, and researchers. We also work with evaluators of educational programmes and trainers of educational professionals.
What daily life is like here
Most Malawians live in simple homes of mud brick with leaf or tin roofs. Rural homes do not have electricity or running water. Most Malawians spend their time hauling water, collecting firewood, growing crops and trying to survive. Roads are unpaved and there are few cars. The cars drive on the left side of the road as we were a British Colony until 1964. People walk or use bicycles for transportation.
90% of rural Malawians are subsistence farmers. Life expectancy at birth is 38 years old. Our country is one of the world's least developed and most densely populated and sadly, has one of the lowest per capita incomes in the world. The dropout rates in schools are higher for girls than boys because of gender-based violence during the long walks to schools. Overall, however, attendance rates are improving and youth literacy has climbed.
Why we work with the African Library Project
Even though the Malawi Institute of Education is responsible for writing the curriculum for all of Malawi’s schools, there is an enormous shortage of books in Malawi. Most of our schools get a textbook for each standard, but that means only the teacher has a book to use. The average class size is 150 students and some of the rural schools have up to 400 students in the lower standards (grades 1-4). Many teachers in rural areas are not trained teachers, so our students have many obstacles to overcome in achieving an education. Yet our students are very eager to learn. The books in a library help bridge the enormous gap as each book acts as a teacher.
How we work with the African Library Project
MIE began to work with ALP in 2012 by applying for the books for a library through DAPP. We quickly saw how popular this library was with area schoolchildren, so we applied for more, working with area schools in 2013. We have a professional librarian at MIE who trains the teacher-librarians. The teachers come to our campus and can see the children’s library that we set up as a model for their libraries, getting ideas about how to improve their library and overcome challenges they face.
In 2013, we took a major step forward in our commitment to develop school libraries in Malawi. We included in our 5-year strategic plan the goal of helping 400 schools in the Zomba District of Malawi start libraries. We are very excited to be partnering with the African Library Project in helping us meet this goal.
What we have accomplished with ALP
We started and run a children’s library at our headquarters in Zomba. In 2013, we helped eight local schools start libraries by training their teacher-librarians. In 2014, we helped start 32 more.
Our hopes and wishes
We hope to help 400 schools in the Zomba District start libraries during the next five years!
How you can help
Do a book drive for Malawi. Our children desperately want to learn and improve their lives and we have so few resources to help them achieve their dreams.
Our sincere thanks to the people making it happen
We love working with our fellow partners at DAPP, WBF and AYISE to start libraries in Malawi. Of course we couldn’t do anything without the U.S. and Canadian book drive organizers that collect and send us their books. We are also grateful to the team at the African Library Project that coordinates everything. We are grateful to our readers, too, for wanting to improve their lives and being smart enough to realize that books can help them.
To learn more about the African Library Project
ALP Libraries in Malawi: 355 (August 2016)
Readers reached: 500,000