UNICEF unveils plans to build a teacher training college
By Kusali Kubwalo
Chiradzulu, Malawi – 20 April 2011: Hundreds of people gathered in Chiradzulu district in the southern part of Malawi to witness the ground breaking ceremony of a teacher’s training college to be built by UNICEF with support from the UNICEF Switzerland National Committee.
“The government of Malawi is very grateful for this support as we believe that only through education can we make a significant impact towards developing our nation,” said the Minister of Education, Science and Technology Prof. Arthur Peter Mutharika.
The college will be built at a total cost of US$11m, the majority of which will be sponsored by the Roche Employees Action and Charity Trust.
Roche has previously supported Malawi’s education sector through the provision of classrooms, teachers’ houses, boreholes and teacher training. 100 female teachers have benefited from this partnership so far.
Once completed, it is expected that Chiradzulu Teacher Training College will graduate 540 teachers every year, benefiting 32,400 learners. “It is our hope and our belief that the future teachers who pass through this college’s doors will go on to provide not only education but also inspiration to the next generation of students,” said the Secretary of the board of Roche Employee Action and Charity Trust, Vivian Beetle.
Ms. Beetle explained that Roche employees annually raise money for Malawi’s children through a Children’s walk that is held on the International Day of the African Child, June 16. Whatever money is raised is matched by Roche and is used to create a better future for Malawi’s children through support to different programmes.
Expressing gratitude for the support, UNICEF Malawi’s Deputy Representative, Dr. Jane Muita explained that her organisation’s involvement in the construction of teacher training colleges is a strategy to reduce the teacher to pupil ratio which at the moment is too high at one teacher to eighty eight students.
“When we look at the 3,000 teachers that graduate from the six government run colleges and five private colleges every year, the output is simply not enough to meet the shortfall in a short period of time on its own.” Dr. Muita noted that other innovative strategies like the use of assistant teachers, double shifting and multigrade teaching can greatly contribute to reducing the student – teacher ratio.
UNICEF Malawi contributes to the improvement of the quality of education through:
Construction of the college will take eighteen months and it is expected that the college will open its doors in September 2013.