US envoy inspects book printing exercise

United States Ambassador Virginia Palmer yesterday toured Kris Offset and Screen Printers in Blantyre to appreciate the printing of textbooks meant for the country’s public schools in support of the National Reading Programme.

Speaking after the tour, Palmer expressed satisfaction with the work, saying it will help impart in Malawian children essential reading skills in Chichewa and English.

She said when the work is completed, it is her wish that every child from Standard One to Four will have two textbooks of both languages which they will be able to take home and read further.

Palmer (C) and Msaka (R) admiring the books as other officials look on

“They say learn to read so that you can read to learn. We want the ratio of textbooks to learners in these lower classes to be at one to one. We are also planning to invest another $90 million [K67.5 billion] in the next five years for expansion of education in secondary schools,” Palmer said.

In his remarks, Minister of Education, Science and Technology Bright Msaka said the textbooks will help improve learning in upper primary school.

He said he was delighted to see such work being done in Malawi, thereby saving on shipment costs.

Said Msaka: “As a country we need to upgrade our education so that we are competitive in the region.”

Kris Offset and Screen Printers sales and marketing manager MacDonald Lombola said so far they have printed about five million books since the beginning of the work in 2013.

According to the marketing manager, about 50 more jobs have been created through the work which is scheduled to be completed by December.

Said Lombola: “Some of the textbooks have already been distributed in schools and we plan to finish printing and distribution of all books by the second week of January 2018.”

In 2016 and 2017, MoEST revised Standard One to Four student textbooks content in accordance with Malawi’s National Reading Strategy to ensure that the teaching of Chichewa and English are complementary.

The US Embassy, through United States Agency for International Development, is funding the printing of over 6.8 million books to the tune of $4.8 million (about K3 billion). n

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