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Possibility and Limit of Comprehensive Educational Cooperation : The Case of Malawi DfID PCOSP Programme

By Hiromitsu Muta


Primary Community Schools Programme, which the UK Department for International Development has been operating in Malawi, is well known as a project contributing to the improvement of primary education in a comprehensive manner, because it aims not only at offering hardware-type assistance in terms of the constructions of schools but also software-type assistance such as providing textbooks and teaching materials, training principals and teachers, and enlightening the public. A mid-term evaluation of the project found that the proposals on the improvement of certain areas made in the previous year had been achieved and the project had been highly productive in most part. The construction of schools itself is evidence of visible achievement, which meets the needs of the target community. Special attention has been paid to making the environment conducive for the improvement of female children's enrolment rate, achievement and performance. For example, separate washrooms are provided for boys and girls, and teaching staff includes female instructors. However, it has also been discovered that the operation of quality education with good textbooks and teaching materials is quite costly in the light of the present condition of the Malawi economy, even though efforts have been made to cut the educational costs, such as, minimizing the construction costs of school building. It is expected that the parents of the children will bear the educational costs because the central government has little assets and decentralization is still in progress. However, the amount of funds necessary to maintain the level of education equivalent to that of the education provided by the project even after the project is over, will be beyond the capacity of the parents. Another problem is that the Malawi government is unlikely to conduct projects modeled after PCOSP in other parts of the country. International cooperation is meant to assist developing countries to improve themselves, and the target countries are expected to continue to achieve the objectives set by the projects after the projects are over. However, it is nearly impossible to do so for the poorest countries such as Malawi. This case suggests that it is necessary to design projects for international cooperation suited to the economic levels of the target countries

Topics: 370
Publisher: 'Wayne State University Press (Project Muse)'
Year: 2001
DOI identifier: 10.15027/34161
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