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Improving Malawi’s National Reading Program


  • Malawi needs help strengthening its reading assessment for primary schools.
  • Abt is implementing a revised national reading assessment.
  • Data collected will be used to identify areas for improvement.
The Challenge

Since school fees were eliminated in 1994, enrollment in Malawi schools has increased dramatically to near 100 percent--with more than 100 students assigned to some teachers. Unfortunately, the quality and volume of educational resources has not kept pace with enrollment, and recent assessments have shown dramatic underperformance by students In current reading assessments, data is not easily accessible and does not comply with all reading levels. The Malawi government implemented a National Reading Program to improve early-child literacy rates, but needs assistance in strengthening its existing reading assessment for primary schools.

The Approach

Abt supports Malawi’s Ministry of Education, Science and Technology (MoEST) by implementing a revised national reading assessment (NRA) that will better identify gaps in students’ knowledge. This system allows NRA data to be more accessible to parents, local community members, teachers, and MoEST staff. Data input and dissemination information is available on mobile platforms and voice systems. Abt also is building the internal capacity of MoEST staff and will transfer responsibility to them so they can successfully carry out all activities once the project is completed.

The Results

This improved assessment will indicate where improvements can be made in the education system for an estimated 3.6 million primary school students. Data collected will be used to properly direct resource allocation while keeping enrollment rates high. Learn more.

Sub-Saharan Africa