By Glory Msowoya – Mana.
Ministry of Education, Science and Technology has reaffirmed its commitment in speeding the formulation of Open Distance Policy which would allow the Malawi College of Distance Education (MCDE) to be independent in its operation.
Minister responsible, Agnes Nyalonje disclosed this Friday during a familiarization tour at Malawi College of Distance Education (MCDE) in Blantyre.
She said in the absence of the policy for the institution was facing a number of challenges like being of understaffedand lack of promotion of some staffs just to mention are few.
According to Authorities at MCDE, there are only 49 staffs against the initial required number of 125 staffs to sustain smooth run of services representing 39.2 percent filled posts.
Nyalonje said plans are in the pipeline for government to employ additional staffs at the institution and to make the policy operational.
According to the Minister, MCDE was crucial to sustaining Open Distance Learning Education for students who are currently at home following closure of schools due to Covid-19 pandemic.
“We are working around the clock to employ more teachers so that the institution can deliver its heart best in the wake of Covid-19. Another issue is about promotions, we are going to work very hard so that teachers are motivated so that they are able to perform,” she said.
Nyalonje added that, “In the wake of Covid-19, ODL stands to be the best option hence government’s commitment towards supporting MCDE so that students get access to E-learning without difficulties.”
On the progress of E-learning lessons, she said so far so good as within a thousand learners significant numbers of them are able to access available lessons.
“We are fully aware that there are limitations for students especially in rural areas to access E-learning lessons due to the fact that lessons are provided Online, Radio and Televisions that are why we are to continue meeting network providers to make available internet and enabled gadgets countrywide so make the program become successful,” the Minister said.
Acting Deputy Director for Malawi College of Distance Education MCDE, Henry Gwede pleaded with government on the need to up independence of the institution and purchase new machines so that the school can be able to meet their demands.
“Most equipment’s here are archaic for example the printing machine was commissioned in 1991 hence our plea to inline minister for more financial and machinery support,” he said.
MCDE was established in 1965 with the main aim of supporting Ministry of Education in the provision of Open and Distance Learning ODL.