President Peter Mutharika urged governments communities and people in the developing world to prioritize education. He made this statement in the light of his own performance in the sector: his government cut 500,000,000 off the education budget for 2016. This has resulted in 10,000 trained teachers out of work, an average class size of 96 against a national standard of a maximum of 60 and an international standard of a maximum of 30 learners per teacher. It has also resulted in teachers having to go on strike to get their allowances and salaries paid. Some teachers even were forced to stage a sit in at the ministry of education to get their salaries. One wonders how President APM looks at the concept of governments prioritizing education, when he performs abysmal in the area himself.
Fortunately the President, who crowned himself champion of education, answers the question in the same speech. He said: Sometimes the resources are all around us, but they cannot be invested in education because everyone thinks education is the responsibility of government.
So there is the answer to the question why our Champion of Education is underfunding that same education sector: he thinks it is not his responsibility!
Well, who would do it otherwise? The parents/families are too poor to finance quality education privately (due to a bad economy, whose responsibility would the economy be Mr President?). The private sector is in a bad way thanks to economic challenges, so they cannot fund it. And even if they could: their priorities are different from the patriotic standard of national interest. So the content of private sector funded education would be out of line with the national interest. Who else? It cannot be donors: this same President recently stated on BBC radio that the country can be weaned of donors in five years. So he cannot ask them for bigger allocations to education than they are already providing (which is big money)
Who will pay now the DPP/Mutharika government is cutting back on education?