Higher Education Activity in Malawi

Project: Research project

Description

EXECUTIVE SUMMARY
In support of USAID/Malawis goal to increase Malawis skilled and employable workforceespecially adolescent girls and young women (AGYW), Arizona State University (ASU) and its consortium partners (Box 1) proposes a Higher Education Activity in Malawi (HEAM) that will build the capacity and foster collaboration between four Malawian universities and enable 14,620 students to attend tertiary educationof which 5,738 will be AGYW or otherwise vulnerable/disadvantaged and 3,655 will study STEM subjects. This proposal represents the culmination of extensive research, stakeholder consultations, a labor market assessment and intense co-design with the university partners in Malawi and Phoenix, AZ.

While a surging population of ambitious young people has Malawis higher education system straining to meet the countrys needs, this is nonetheless a moment of opportunity. The Government of Malawi (GoM) and donors recognize that open and distance learning technologies have the potential to dramatically increase the number of students who can attend higher education and transform the institutions ability to help them succeed. Internet access is steadily improving. As it does, Malawis universities must gain the leadership and vision coupled with the pedagogical and technological capabilities to create an effective, nationwide system of digital higher educationone that gives girls, rural students, orphans, and youth with disabilities new and more equitable opportunities to become skilled, employable, entrepreneurial contributors to economic growth.

Strategic Approaches
ASUs approach to HEAM is to cultivate Malawian universities Open and Distance Learning (ODL) capacity both on campus and in centers distributed throughout the country, ensuring the system will be ready to grow quickly as energy and internet infrastructure become more reliable. In the interim, our Consortium will also offer affordable, user-friendly technologies and evolving innovations that can help overcome some of the impediments that currently leave 50,000 secondary school graduates each year without access to higher education. Based on their respective experience and extensive field research conducted for this application, ASU and its partners have co-designed our interventions using a systems approach to ensure that all stakeholders understand and value Open and Distance Learning (ODL). Within the systems approach, we also bring in change management principles to create leaders at all levels of engagementgovernment, university, faculty, instructional designers, and business actors including employers groups, large and small businesses, and entrepreneurs. Working closely with the four university partners, it became clear that for HEAM to have sustainable impact, that there needed to be strong engagement of stakeholders at different levels. ASU understands that public universities must be responsive to market demands and market forces. For this reason, we not only co-design courses for the market place with business but we also have an adaptive business approach for the ODL Centers to ensure that they adapt to market forces and are sustainable. As part of our strategic approach, we bring five core principles to each of the components. These are:
Radical collaboration to ensure country ownership and sustainability
Evidence-driven design grounded in Malawian realities
Evolving innovations to prepare for the future
Embracing gender equity and diversity to create an enabling environment for AGYW
Integrated implementationstrategically, programmatically, and operationally
StatusActive
Effective start/end date12/4/1812/3/22

Funding

  • USAID: Malawi-Lilongwe: $9,572,724.00

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Malawi
open learning
distance learning
university
education
stakeholder
market
adolescent
secondary school graduate
innovation
Internet
change management
orphan
student
small business
field research
entrepreneur
education system
employer
equity