We have evidence of how enthusiastic our teachers are, using this pedagogy, and so some of our teachers… even on their own are taking it to other schools, schools that are under their jurisdiction, that's a very positive development.
Christina Mussa, Director for secondary and distance education in Malawi
Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office (FCDO)
Connecting Classrooms is a global education programme for schools, aiming to help millions of young people worldwide develop the knowledge, skills and values they need for life and work in a global economy. This is a case study of the programme in Malawi.
The goal of Malawi’s Ministry of Education, Science and Technology (MoEST) in this situtaion was to ensure that learners with diverse needs had equitable access to quality education in inclusive settings at all levels. The challenge was mainstreaming of Special Educational Needs (SEN) was relatively new and there had been an increase in the enrolment of students with physical impairments and learning difficulties in Malawi schools. The MoEST developed a National Strategy on Inclusive Education, but needed to work to identify priority areas and how to implement them practically.
We delivered the Connecting Classrooms Inclusive Pedagogies module to a pilot group in both rural and urban settings. The module was piloted with 20 schools, two lecturers from the teacher training college and a SEN specialist. We then held a briefing for policy level stakeholders, facilitating the conversation between potential partners and donors who could work to deliver a scaled-up programme, once the lessons from the pilot had been considered. In February 2017 we hosted an Inclusion seminar, including a partnership visit between a UK SEN specialist school and Mzuzu Secondary School. Finally, we created a summary report of the pilot, including impact, learning and reflections arising from both the central programme and its local implementations.
The project positively affected the lives of individual children, their classes, their teachers and the 20 schools involved. The enthusiasm for the pilot project has seen teachers sharing the pedagogy and impacting more and more schools in the region, with MoEST identifying a further 21 to work with in the immediate future.
This pilot project and convening of stakeholders, managed through the Connecting Classrooms programme, has created the conditions for the MoEST in Malawi to successfully embed their school inclusion strategy. Extending until 2021, this plan aims to embed the concept of inclusion throughout national and local policy-making, planning, curriculum delivery and assessment, and teacher training.
This project helped deliver on the MoEST vision for the education sector in Malawi; which is to be a catalyst for socio-economic development, industrial growth and an instrument for empowering the poor and voiceless. It also supported our vision to change lives by creating opportunities, building connections and engendering trust with the UK and the expertise brought to Malawi. Mutual benefit then comes to the UK from the connections and learning made at both policy and classroom level.