Malawi at a Glance
The sad truth in Malawi is that infant mortality rates are high and life expectancy at birth is about 52 years. The prevalence of HIV/AIDS in adults is high. It is estimated that 920,000 adults were living with the disease in 2009.
HIV/AIDS kills approximately 68,000 people every year (as of 2007). Approximately 250 new people are infected each day, and at least 70% of Malawi’s hospital beds are occupied by HIV/AIDS patients.
The people of Malawi have a very high risk of getting major infectious diseases such as typhoid fever, hepatitis A, malaria and dengue fever.
Malawi has an 8-4-4 education system. This means there is primary school (known as Standard 1 to Standard 8), secondary school (known as Form 1 to 4) and university education. A child is officially allowed to enter primary school at 6 years old, and primary education in Malawi is compulsory.
However, education no longer stresses the academic preparation necessary to enter secondary school or universities. The focus is now on agriculture and practical training since few students go on to secondary school or university. Most students begin work immediately after primary school. Secondary and university education have seen dramatic growth but neither educational sector comes close to meeting Malawi’s educational needs for a well trained labor force in an advancing world.
Additionally girls in Malawi face a higher prevalence of gender-based violence, and often they lack the safety while traveling to school each day. This is reflected in the dropout rates being higher for girls than boys.