Middle childhood is a period of great transformation in a child’s life. It is a time when they begin to experience independence from family, by going to primary school where they will have regular contact with the outside world and develop friendships beyond their families. While participating in primary education, children gain skills that allow them to read, write, and do basic mathematics; equipping them for life.
Providing quality education remains a challenge in Malawi. The country is one of the poorest in the world (ranked 170 out of 188 countries on the Human Development Index), with more than 70 per cent of the population living on less than US$1.90 per day.
Some of the challenges that children face include the lack of space in classrooms, lack of learning materials and as well as a large teacher to student ratio. Other challenges relate to starting primary school late (after the age of six); poor quality teachers, exclusion of children with disabilities and other vulnerable children, gender inequality and gender-based violence in and on the way to and from school; high repetition and dropout rates; low levels of completion and progression to secondary school. These challenges are linked to poverty, malnutrition, water sanitation and hygiene (WASH) and HIV and AIDS, which eventually affect the education system and prevents children, especially girls, from completing their education and reaching their full potential.