Increasing access to secondary school education in Malawi: does private schooling deliver on its promises?

Chimombo, Joseph, Meke, Elizabeth, Zeitlyn, Benjamin and Lewin, Keith (2014) Increasing access to secondary school education in Malawi: does private schooling deliver on its promises? Working Paper. Privatisation in Education, London, UK.

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This paper provides a new analysis of private secondary education in Malawi. Malawi remains one of the countries in Sub-Saharan Africa with the lowest levels of participation in secondary schooling. As in other countries in Sub Saharan Africa, economic liberalization has led to the development of fee paying private schools to respond to excess demand for places. The paper charts the development of private secondary schooling over the last 20 years, explores the characteristics of households and pupils attending private schools, and illuminates key issues for the future development of the education system arising from changing patterns of provision. The research is based on an analysis of secondary data at national level, insights from a data base on private schools, and empirical case studies in fifteen schools using interviews and a survey of 1000 students. Key findings are that the private schools are very unevenly distributed geographically, the great majority of children in private secondary schools are from families in the top quintile by wealth in Malawi, the lowest price private schools remain unaffordable to all except the richest households, and enrolments in all but the highest performing schools were stable or declining with much volatility and school transfer from year to year. The governance of private schools varied greatly and most had accountability only to their owners. Teaching staff were often poorly qualified and very transient with high turnover and informal contracts of employment. Learning materials and furniture in most schools in the sample were insufficient to meet minimum standards. The research clearly indicates that there are low limits to the extent that self-financing private schools can contribute to expanding access to secondary schooling in Malawi. The findings of this study have implications for the debate on how best to manage the growth of private for profit schooling at secondary level and how to support expanded access to secondary education in ways that are both equitable and financially sustainable.

Item Type: Reports and working papers (Working Paper)
Schools and Departments: School of Education and Social Work > Education
Subjects: L Education
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Depositing User: Claire Prater
Date Deposited: 16 Nov 2015 10:03
Last Modified: 16 Nov 2015 10:03
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