Link Community Development

Improving the quality of education in Africa

Support to the Inspection and Advisory Services

Teachers discuss school performance with a Primary Education Advisor

The overall objective is to improve the provision of quality education to the children of Malawi by supporting the Ministry of Education, Science and Technology to develop (1) a cadre of professionally trained, knowledgeable inspectors, able to effectively inspect schools and to monitor school improvement throughout Malawi, and (2) a cadre of professionally trained, knowledgeable advisors, able to effectively support school improvement throughout Malawi.


Funder: Scottish Government

Total Funding: £ 399,721.99

Dates: April 2013 - March 2016

The Challenge

The education system in Malawi continues to struggle with the enrolment explosion, resulting from the introduction of the free primary education initiative in 1994.  Although access has greatly improved, Education Management Information Systems (EMIS 2010, 2011) data clearly demonstrates that there has been a negative impact on the quality of education in Malawi.  For example, only 9% of learners master minimum standards in English reading and only 2% master minimum maths skills. Unfortunately, weak inspection and supervisory mechanisms contribute to under-performance in the primary sector.  An appraisal of the National Education Sector Plan (2008-2017) and the Education Sector Implementation Plan 2009 – 2013 noted that a system of school inspection is in place but not working effectively.  The inspectorate is under-resourced and inspections are done by random sampling, resulting in some schools/colleges not being inspected for many years.  Lack of regular school performance monitoring and follow-up impacts on effective implementation of interventions or plans and this in turn affects children’s performance and overall primary education sector performance.

Project Aims

The Ministry of Education, Science and Technology recognises these challenges and invited Link to work with them to redefine the roles of Inspectors and Advisors and to provide tools and training to enable them to effectively support school improvement. This project aims to facilitate the Directorate of Inspection and Advisory Services (DIAS) to reflect on their policy and practice; to develop clear roles and guidelines for their officers; and to train them to fulfil these roles effectively through practice-based learning.

Project Activities

Link is supporting the Directorate of Inspection and Advisory Services to:

1.       Define and disseminate a consolidated set of National Education Standards which apply to all schools in Malawi.

2.       Develop a Handbook and Guidelines for Inspectors and Advisors at central, division and district level.

3.       Deliver training to DIAS Inspectors and Advisors at central level and in Central West Division and Dedza District on effectively fulfilling their specific roles.

4.       Conduct inspection visits to 19 primary and 4 secondary schools in Dedza district in order to test and refine tools and develop the skills of DIAS officers.

5.       Conduct advisory visits to these same schools to support them to use feedback from inspection, School Performance Review and advisory/ supervision visits to develop good quality School Improvement Plans.

Headline achievements

Development of Malawi’s first National Education Standards in consultation with over 250 representatives of government, civil society, schools, communities and donor partners. Read more.

Handbook and Guidelines for Inspectors and Advisors launched and being used by the Department of Inspection and Advisory Services.

21 female and 33 male key officers of the Department of Inspection and Advisory Services received intensive training on their roles in school improvement.

Inspection visits took place in 19 primary and 4 secondary schools in Dedza district. Each school received a concise report and an advisor visited to support the school management team to use the feedback in the report to inform their school improvement plans which will be in use from September 2015.

210 (83 female) community members received training on the National Education Standards and how these can be used to support school improvement. 


Read the External Evaluation of the SIAS Project. 

NGOsource equivalency determination on file Registered with Fundraising Regulator OSCR Scottish Charity Registrar