Saturday, October 27, 2007

Malawi National Examination Board Must Cancel Form 4 Exams At One for All

The allegations that Form 4 exams are undergoing high leakage can not go uncommented. If the reports and witnesses paraded and carried in the national papers are anything to go by, it is high time that the government cancels the exams one and for all.

Latest reports in yesterday papers clearly remove all the doubts that the exams were indeed leaked. However, what MANEB officials are stating would not be wrong to assume that some high officials are involved in the leaking of the exams. They are too much deffensive yet The Daily Times indicate they have a bunch of witnesses which i beklieve they can parade in the court of law for the national good. Exams under such leakage will eventually lower the standards of education because only those who have the money to buy the papers on black markets will stand to benefit. This will result into students not working hard as they will be assured that their parents will eventually buy the papers for them to memorize during exams.

The general public also needs to be warned about such exams malpractice. When the papers turn to be fake, their children will fail because they will have memorized the bought papers and not prepared for anything else. Furthermore, when exams are not leaked, their sons and daughters will also loose out.

All in all, in the current developments, the poor student stands to loose in many cases. He would have worked hard, burning paraffin driven-lamps but will not be able to pass above the student who had the paper at his/her disposal. Furthermore, the poor student will be psychologically affected as he /she will think she will fail the exams because others have managed to buy the paper. As a result, the intelligent will not pass with impressive grades. Those who pass with impressive grades will do so because their parents managed to buy the papers. No wonder, there are many cases of MSCE students passing with 6 points or grades below 10 points most of which come from the well to do families. What will be the impression? Their parents bought them the examination papers.

This leakage should also be a stand up call for the ACB to tighten its teeth to this palastatals and see how the leakage is done order to avoid future cases. All the culprits need to be brought to book. This also signals that University entrance exams need not to be removed as some policy makers have argued because only the cream from MSCE will be sieved through to the university.

ABSTRACT-: The Role of Malawian Languages in Achieving Socio-economic Development

The role of Malawian languages in achieving socio-economic development: Can Translation of development strategies into Chichewa and Other Local Languages Accelerate Development and attainment of the MDGs in Malawi?

Pearson Nkhoma and Wongani Mugaba .

Malawi ranks among the 10 most impoverished countries worldwide despite implementing many development programmes since gaining political autonomy in 1964. The persisting under-development is accredited to many factors like deteriorating and unfair trade, corruption and poor economic governance among others. However, recent publications show that lack of people’s participation in development projects that affect them and inadequacies in communication in such projects is the root cause of underdevelopment and persisting poverty.

Participation of targeted beneficiaries is thus an important aspect in socio-economic development. However no meaningful participation at any development stage can be achieved if the language used by development experts is both alien to the project beneficiaries. Firstly, the use foreign languages complicates development projects because a majority of ordinary people are illiterate and thus cannot make meaningful negotiations in development of their own despite possessing vast indigenous ideas, knowledge, experience and values capable to develop their communities different from those of development experts. Ironically, most development workers in Malawi also lack skills such as good command for local languages to understand and involve the people in the development process. Language being used has therefore become a communication barrier for the country to attain sustainable development.

Secondly all development strategies and policies that the country implements like the Malawi Poverty Reduction Strategy Paper, Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), and Malawi Growth and Development Strategy have failed or are subject to fail because they are not localised. In other words, the strategies are in a language which is not accessible by the majority of the Malawian populace who stand to benefit.

Finally the participation of the MPs in parliament is limited because of the use of English. Most of the MPs lack the necessary competencies to express themselves in English on matters of national development. It is therefore suggested that the use of vernacular languages be permitted and used in development circles.

The paper therefore seeks to assess the role that local languages can play in addressing the poverty situation and promotion of sustainable development in the country. The paper will also assess whether translating current overarching developmental strategies like the Malawi Growth and Development Strategy (MGDS) and MDGs into local languages is a critical path to their success. In particular, the paper will highlight how Theatre for Development (TFD) which uses local languages of a particular area has documented successful stories in the country. All in all, this paper will try to show that African languages, Malawian in particular, constitute an irreplaceable tool for socio-economic development.