By Sylvester Kumwenda:
Government through the Equity with Quality Learning in Secondary (EQUALS) project has purchased around 1.293 million secondary school science text books and teacher guides worth K1.5 billion, to be distributed to all 885 public secondary schools across the country.
This follows the US$1.8 million dollar (K1.5 billion) worth contract government entered with Grey Matter for the supply of the science books for all classes from Form 1 to 4.
Minister of Education, Agnes NyaLonje received the first consignment of the books in Lilongwe on Thursday.
She said for the first time in the history of Malawi, every science secondary school learner will have a book of their own.
“In 2015, Malawi adopted a science based curriculum and the understanding was that we should have enough resources for teaching and learning for science subjects like laboratories, libraries, textbooks and teachers’ guides. As we speak, we had never achieved that.
“But from today, every learner of Biology, Physics, Mathematics and Chemistry will have their own book for all these subjects. Therefore, this is an emotional and historical day for us in the Ministry as we know we are on our way to beginning to ensure quality education,” said NyaLonje.
The Minister said her Ministry now expects to see improved teaching and learner performance in all secondary schools across the country.
NyaLonje subsequently urged schools, students, teachers, parents and all Malawians to take good care of the books.
“These books are a huge investment for Malawi Government has used around K1.5 billion to purchase the books. But this will not mean a thing if we are not interested in taking care of the books.
“We should make sure the books outlive their lifespans, avoid stealing and indecorous use of the books. We are already in the knowledge era, and if we want every Malawian to take part in helping Malawi achieve her 2063 agenda, the answer lies in these books,” said NyaLonje.
She then assured Malawians that government will still aim at making sure all necessary books for all learners in all schools are available, including primary and tertiary learning institutions.
“It might take long as it is a huge work requiring huge resources, but we will reach there,” she said.
Grey Matter in around April this year won the bid to supply 1, 292, 976 books to the Ministry of Education with a commitment that by September, the books will have started arriving in the country. So far, 19 containers have arrived and the last seven are expected soon.
In his remarks, Grey Matter General Manager, Santosh Sanvordekar said his company remains committed to fulfilling its end of the bargain and also achieve a 100 percent delivery of the books to all schools by November end.
Furthermore, he said, Grey Matter is honored to be a stakeholder in the development of education in Malawi.
“Grey Matter is extremely grateful to the Ministry of Education for providing us with the opportunity of being part and parcel of developing Malawi through education.
“We have been working very closely with government for the past 10 years and in every contract we had won, we always made sure we provide good quality products, be compliant with deliveries, all this on an affordable pricing to the Ministry,” said Sanvordekar.