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Malawi Govt challenged on widening tax base for serious investment in education

CSEC with its partners on education financing

LILONGWE-(MaraviPost)-Malawi President Lazarus Chakwera’s Tonse administration has been challenged to broaden its tax base in order to increase domestic resources available for education and other services.

Civil Society Education Coalition (CSEC), Save the Children, Action Aid and Coalition for Child Rights made the call during a news conference on Monday, April 26, 2021 in the capital in Lilongwe.

The briefing was part of the Global Action Week for Education (GAWE) whose theme titled; “Education financing, in-line with the policy framing of the One billion Voices campaign”.

CSEC Executive Director Benedicto Kondowe observes that the national budget must have the sensitivity to respond to the poorest and most marginalised in order to counteract inequality, discrimination and exclusion in education.

Kondowe added that domestic resources remain the most important source for sustainable funding of education as such government should make a clear commitment to provide equitable financing proportionate with the country’s education priorities, needs and capacities to advance the progressive realisation of the right to education for every Malawian.

“The government must increase its tax base in order to increase domestic resources available for education and other services. Substantive tax reforms are needed to fairly increase the size of the overall government budget and as a result increasing the education budget proportionately as well,” he explained.

Kondowe further said that there is a need to construct houses for teachers, including special needs teachers.

“The state must also guarantee that other targets can be achieved, related to learning quality, teachers professional development, access to cultural assets, global citizenship education and lifelong learning,” he said.

He also said that government must provide free quality education for all and end the trend towards the privatisation and commercialisation of education so that education can be accessed by all Children.

Echoing on the same Leon Matanda of Coalition for Child Rights urged government to improve the quality of teaching through adequate provision of teaching and learning materials and adequate recruitment, remuneration and continued teaching training.

Action Aid Malawi’s Tax Justice for Gender Response Public Services on Education’s Project Officer Aisha Katungwe chipped in with urgent debt servicing calls including debt cancellation for the least developed countries.

According to the 2020/21 fiscal plan, government allocated MK46.00 per learner for Teaching and Learning Materials (TLM) in primary education.

Malawi’s education sector was already facing devastating crisis and the pandemic has only exacerbated this.

The pandemic hit an education system that already has 86,000 teacher deficit in both primary and secondary education and currently leaves 2,592,00 pupils in primary school to learn out in the open due to lack of an estimate 21,600 classroom blocks.

This year’s GAWE theme aligns with CSEC and its partners’ stance that government and international community should ensure more and better financing of education especially during the current Covid-19 pandemic that has affected education of about six million children in Malawi.

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