Link Community Development

Improving the quality of education in Africa

Malawi School Improvement Programme (MSIP)

The Malawi School Improvement Programme (MSIP) 2006-2009, funded by the Scottish Government, was the first programme run by Link in Malawi and launched our partnership with the Malawi Ministry of Education, Science and Technology (MoEST) and the District Education Offices in Dedza and Mulanje.

The programme focused on building national and district capacity in relation to monitoring school progress and planning for school improvement using Link’s School Performance Review (SPR). Throughout the programme, Link successfully embedded SPR into the school inspection process by training district officials on the SPR methodology and training district staff on how to effectively collect and use school-level data as a tool to measure school performance and plan for further improvements. As part of this process, Link supported district officials and school staff across both districts to produce and review school development and school improvement plans.

Link additionally provided training for teachers and headteachers on a range of themes with the aim of improving the quality of education being delivered. These themes included school management and leadership, literacy and numeracy, HIV/AIDS action planning, child-centred approached to teaching and learning and inclusive practice particularly in relation to girls and children with special educational needs.

The programme also allowed Link to begin our development education work in Scotland with the Link Schools Programme and the Global Teachers Programme, both of which provided valuable opportunities for collaborative practice between education staff in Scotland and Malawi. Schools in both countries were supported in developing school partnerships, delivering global citizenship education based on collaborative curriculum projects, and the delivery of peer-to-peer mentoring during reciprocal visits and school placements.

Key Achievements:

  • All 219 schools in Dedza and all 149 schools in Mulanje developed a School Improvement Plan outlining priorities and strategies for improving the quality of teaching and learning.
  • A total of 952 teachers, including Head Teachers, were trained in school management and teaching skills through a combination of support from Scottish teachers and sessions co-facilitated by Link staff and district education officials.
  • A total of 269 teachers in Dedza were trained on literacy and numeracy, including child-centred approaches to teaching and learning, and Primary Education Advisors later cascaded this training within Mulanje.
  • School Performance Review was conducted in all 149 schools in Mulanje throughout the course of the MSIP project; the first time Link had full coverage of a district, marking a significant achievement.
  • A total of 45 school partnerships between schools in Malawi and Scotland were established throughout the MSIP project; 5 reciprocal visits took place  and teachers from Scotland completed 5-week teaching placements in Malawi in 2007, 2008 and 2009 as part of the Global Teachers Programme during which they mentored local teachers and supported ongoing training sessions.
  • Link established and maintained a good working relationship with MoEST, regularly holding meetings to share information on the project and as a result was invited to join the Basic Education Technical Working Group.
  • Link shared learning from the programme with other NGOs, including UNICEF, VSO, DFID, USAID and FAWEMA.
“Our learners were always late for school and could not come to school on market days, but after the SPR team advised us, there has been a great change even though others are still going for market but they are reducing in number.” A parent from Kaphiri School, Mulanje.




“It is more than inspection as it [SPR] involves all the stakeholders in a school and reveals all the pertinent issues which makes it very easy for the PEAs to advise schools. The beauty of SPR is that the current areas of success are recognised and encouraged by commending them.” Mulanje District Education Manager
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