Implementing Malawi’s National Reading Program: Opportunities, Achievements, and Challenges [Conference Presentations]

The Malawi National Reading Program (NRP) is the country's flagship education program aimed at improving the reading skills of all Malawian learners in Standards 1 to 4. USAID supports the NRP by providing finance and technical assistance through several activities including MERIT: Malawi Early Grade Reading Improvement Activity (MERIT), Yesani Ophunzira (YESA), Strengthening Early Grade Reading in Malawi (SEGREM) and Reading for All Malawi (REFAM). MERIT focuses on teacher professional development and support, YESA on continuous assessment and remediation, REFAM on inclusive education, and SEGREM on materials development. Since 2016, the NRP has reached over 56,000 teachers and 4.6 million students in all public schools in Malawi. In addition, results from the 2018 Early Grade Reading Assessment shows that the NRP has had some success in improving reading skills of students in Chichewa and English, and especially for those students in the Standard 4. Implementing successfully at a national scale requires that all partners have had to coordinate and collaborate with each other, with the Ministry of Education, Science and Technology (MoEST) in the lead. This panel includes representatives from the MoEST and NRP implementation partners discussing their roles in supporting the NRP and sharing lessons around their approach, achievements, and challenges as they collaborate to get all children learning. The combined experiences of the different partners will be useful for other projects, organizations, and governments who are looking to make a wide-scale change in their education systems.