At the signing ceremony, the US was represented by ambassador Virginia Palmer while Malawi by minister of Education, Science and Technology Bright Msaka, Minister of Finance, Economic Planning and Development Goodall Gondwe, Minister of Health and Population Atupele Muluzi, and Minister of Gender, Children, Disability and Social Welfare Jean Kalilani.
The MOU focuses on the expansion of existing and installation of new secondary schools which will be installed across Malawi
under the U.S. Government’s new Secondary Education Expansion for Development (SEED) initiative.
In the MOU the United States commits to fund up to $90 million (MK 64 billion) for secondary school construction costs with additional funding for youth friendly health services.
Malawi commits to fund the costs of training and salaries for teachers to staff the new schools; to support the provision of
youth friendly health services near secondary schools; to incorporate comprehensive sex education in the national curriculum to keep young people HIV-free; and to the phased-in waiver of secondary school tuition fees.
“The United States is committed to our partnership with Malawi to get more adolescent girls in secondary school. The tender is out My government will tender this week for the first $20 million worth of classrooms to increase the number of adolescent
girls that can access secondary schools across Malawi. Our goal is to get more girls, and boys, into secondary school and to keep them HIV free. Anecdotal studies have shown that for every year a girl attends secondary school her risk of contracting HIV decreases. Malawi’s program will demonstrate the critical link between girls’ education and public health for the rest of Africa and the world and provide important benefits for Malawi’s development,” said Palmer.
Minister of Education Science and Technology Bright Msaka said, “I am very excited to sign this Memorandum of Understanding on the expansion of Secondary Education. You are all good aware that the secondary subsector has not grown much compared to the other subsectors in education. This has led to many children, especially girls, being denied the opportunity to receive Secondary Education due to various challenges we have been facing. This is an important subsector that will drive the economy of this country as graduates from this level go into different strands of development due to the various skills that they acquire. It is only a skilled workforce that can contribute effectively to the development of this country.
“I am therefore happy that we are getting support in the area of our most need,’ said Msaka.
He added: “I am also excited that the focus on the girl child will ensure that our girls not only come to school, but they stay and
complete their secondary education to reach even greater heights. We are confident that this increased access to education will reduce the transmission of HIV to Malawi’s youth and help us break the back of the HIV epidemic.
“My ministry will work with all relevant partners to ensure that there is zero tolerance on school-based gender violence; that communities care and maintain all infrastructures that will be built in this programme; and that youth friendly health services are provided to our youths close to their schools. The introduction of the secondary school tuition fees waiver will go a long
way in assisting disadvantaged students’ access secondary education. My ministry will ensure that no disadvantage student is left behind on this programme. The government also commits to recruit qualified teachers in all secondary schools to improve the quality of teaching and learning in our schools. The Government of Malawi, through the Ministry of Education, Science and Technology is committed to ensuring that each and every child in Malawi receives the education he or she deserves for the betterment of the Malawi nation.”