SECONDARY EDUCATION IN MALAWI, AFRICA
Ripple Africa built Kapanda Community Day Secondary School near to the primary schools we support so that students don’t have to walk 10 mi each way to the other nearest secondary school. The school was handed over to the government to run but we continue to support Kapanda Secondary School by building new classrooms and facilities and improving existing ones.
Secondary Education in Malawi, Africa
Achievements and Future Plans
We have built two double classroom blocks, a Physics Laboratory, a Computer Laboratory, five teachers houses, a teachers’ office, toilets, a Girls’ Dormitory housing for 56 girls, a kitchen and a dining and study block. We have also provided electricity to the school, text books as well as desks. As funding permits, we will continue to support Kapanda Secondary School including the construction of additional teacher houses to ensure that the school is able to attract quality teaching staff.
How We Work
We work in conjunction with the District Education Department and the headteacher. The needs are assessed and support is provided where most required.
$35 could buy three secondary school textbooks
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Why It Is So Important
Students face several hurdles if they wish to attend secondary school in Malawi. Unlike the United States, only students who pass their primary school exams are permitted to continue on with their studies. And, although primary education in Malawi is free (with minimal costs to parents for uniforms and resources), secondary education is not and is funded through charging school fees. These are tuition costs are often too expensive for families to pay and ultimately means that many do not have the opportunity to advance.
However, access to quality secondary school education in Africa is vital to the development of Malawi, as well as Africa. Sadly, only 38% of children in Malawi transition from primary to secondary school – (36% for girls and 41% for boys). This is partly due to expensive school fees, but can also be an issue of local access. Because there are fewer secondary schools than primary schools, this means that students living in rural areas, are often forced to travel very long distances to attend school. Before Ripple Africa built Kapanda Community Day Secondary School, students were in desperate need of a local school of their own because the nearest secondary school was almost 10 mi away – a very long distance to walk to and from school daily.
To answer this need, Ripple Africa began to raise money for Kapanda in 2007 and, by March 2008, the school had opened its doors. Kapanda Secondary School had all four classes from Form 1 to Form 4, and there are 10 full-time government employed teachers at the school. Over 250 pupils attend the school, and an additional 200 students attend afternoon classes via the “Open School”, as option for those who were unable to attend secondary school through normal channels.
In 2013, the school was formally taken over by the government in a ceremony attended by the District Education Manager and other dignitaries from the District Council and members of the local communities. Ripple Africa continues to support Kapanda by providing resources as needed, and our overseas volunteers provide valuable assistance to teachers and students in the classroom.
What We Have Achieved
In support of secondary education in Malawi, Ripple Africa built Kapanda Secondary School in 2008. This has been a significant and ongoing venture and is Ripple Africa’s most important educational achievement to date.
What we have accomplished:
- Electricity provided to the school
- Two double classroom blocks (which provides four large classrooms) and ongoing maintenance as needed
- Physics Laboratory – in partnership with the Institute of Physics, we designed and built the laboratory and trained local teachers
- Computer Laboratory equipped with 60 desktop computers – designed and built the computer laboratory in partnership with IT Schools Africa
- five teachers’ houses – a practice adopted throughout Malawi to attract quality teachers to the school
- Toilet blocks
- Teachers’ office, and a secure storeroom
- Girl’s Dormitory – housing 56 girls on site allowing them to study without having to travel long distances and do domestic chores
- Kitchen to prepare food for the girls in the dormitory
- Dining and Study Block for the girls living in the dormitory, which is also being used as a school library
- outdoor facilities, including a football pitch and a netball court.
How We Work
Ripple Africa has developed an excellent relationship with the District Education Manager and the Headteacher at Kapanda Secondary School to ensure that we work in partnership to respond to local needs and provide simple solutions to the problems that they identify.
The Project's Future
Providing additional teacher housing is imperative as it entitles Kapanda to an increase in governmental support, and would make the school one of the best Community Day Secondary Schools in Nkhata Bay District. Although the necessity for teachers’ houses might seem strange here in the US, the reality is that, without these incentives, the school cannot attract quality teachers to our rural area which ultimately has a negative impact on the level of education students receive.
In addition to building more teachers’ houses, Ripple Africa will continue to help maintain the facilities at Kapanda.
This project addresses the following Sustainable Development Goals: