Access to education

Children in Malawi officially start school at the age of six in Standard 1 and complete their primary education at the age of thirteen in Standard 8, although education is not compulsory and approximately twelve percent of children are not enrolled in school at all. Class sizes typically range from 60 to 100 mixed ability pupils per teacher and it is common for children of different ages to be taught together, sometimes outside under a tree if there are insufficient classrooms available. Some children start school late and others may miss or repeat one or more academic years due to illness, family responsibilities or lack of resources. Although tuition is free in government primary schools, extra costs, such as shoes and uniform, put education beyond the means of many of the poorest families. UNICEF estimates that only 33 per cent of children complete the full eight years at primary school with girls less likely to do so than boys.

For those who manage to pass their final exams in Standard 8 and are selected for a place at secondary school, there follows another four years of studying beginning in Form 1. However, school fees must be paid in all secondary schools and students usually have to walk long distances to get to them, significantly impacting attendance figures. Many teenagers drop out of school altogether in order to supplement the family income or get married.

Charitable status

ChildCare Malawi is unable to register with the Charity Commission because our annual income is less than £5,000. However, we are registered as

a Small Charity with HMRC, which entitles us to claim Gift Aid on eligible donations.

Picture credits

All images are copyright of

their owners and must not be used for any reason without prior written authorisation.

Row 1 © Christin Tröger.

Row 2 © jamesdeanphoto.

Row 3 © Tom McShane.

Row 4 © Christin Tröger.


Copyright © 2024 ChildCare Malawi. All rights reserved.

Created by Beechurst Designs.