By Tione Andsen
Lilongwe, September 9, Mana: World Vision Malawi (WVM) believes that establishment of Early Childhood Development (ECD) centres in most primary schools could help to improve literacy levels in the country.
WVM Director Programmes, Charles Chimombo said this Wednesday during press briefing as part of the commemoration of World International Literacy Day which falls on September 8 every year and was held at Crossroads Hotel in Lilongwe.
He said ECD centres remain key education foundation for the development of every child and it has proven that a child that goes through these centres; they do well in their education.
“Currently, only 32 percent of learners go through ECD before primary school. Children need to begin formal schooling with strong foundation that guarantees them success in the future,” the Director added.
Chimombo said stakeholders have a role to play in ensuring that children are provided with quality education in terms of infrastructure development, good learning and teaching environment.
“The Private Sector needs to step up and help in the construction of ECD centres. If we want to have a vibrant private sector in the country we need with the construction of ECD centres throughout the country,” he added.
The Director said the issue of dropout rates particularly among girls needs to be addressed as it has been observed that most of them are dropping out before reaching standard 5 and only very few are making it to secondary schools.
Chimombo said parents have a responsibility to ensure all the children are encouraged to go school and be able to read and write in order to improve literacy levels in the country.
“The provision of text books among children in schools should be enhanced. The only challenge most schools are facing is that pupil-text book ratio remains at 1:4. If we are to improve this, we need to provide adequate text books to children in schools,” he added.
Executive Director for Civil Society Education Coalition (CSEC), Benedicto Kondowe said literacy day in an important day for the country as it gives a platform to see how to improve the culture of reading among pupils.
He said the country’s national libraries need to be stocked with books and be able to supply them to school libraries if issues of literacy were to improve for the better.
Kondowe disclosed that 28 percent of the country’s populations are not able to read and write hence the need to find solutions to reduce the gap.
“We need to motivate teachers to establish reading clubs in schools. The Clubs should be sustained through the provision of wide range of books in order to enhance reading culture among pupils in schools at tender age,” he pointed out.