Education Decentralisation in Malawi: Legitimate but Incomplete Masked in Dilemmas of Leadership Roles and Responsibilities


  • Noel Kufaine
  • Oliver Mtapuri


Since the advent of multiparty democracy in Malawi, activities have been planned in line with the concept of democracy. One of the activities being undertaken in pursuit of democracy is decentralisation with a twofold purpose, namely, to improve effectiveness in service delivery and community participation. Decentralisation is being pioneered by the Ministry of Local Government and Rural Development, and then relayed to other government departments. Under the circumstances, the Department of Education was also decentralized. This article is part of the large study which was aimed at understanding the experience of decentralising education, considering the complexity of the sector. It is based on a qualitative study in Malawi and used the in-depth interviewing technique to collect data. A grounded theory approach was used to analyse them. The study revealed that decentralisation as a whole enhances democracy and community participation in social and rural development. However, other departments were just directed to decentralise to make decentralisation a national activity. The Education department has not completely decentralised because it was implemented by adopting the local government structure which operates and stops at the district level and has proved to be difficult in the sector. Hence, the article, concludes that while the decentralisation of education is critical and is also a valid initiative for a country like Malawi, it is not clear how education effectiveness will be reached. The article argues that the process of decentralization in Malawi is incomplete because it has not been decentralised to the school level. The article recommends that different departments and stages in the decentralisation process need to be regarded as distinct for effective planning and execution of education decentralization. This necessitates the need for concerted efforts at advocacy regarding this matter. The article also argues that the allocation and provision of appropriate resources and training is a long-term and ongoing process devoid of short cuts.

DOI: 10.5901/mjss.2014.v5n23p764


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How to Cite

Kufaine, N., & Mtapuri, O. (2014). Education Decentralisation in Malawi: Legitimate but Incomplete Masked in Dilemmas of Leadership Roles and Responsibilities. Mediterranean Journal of Social Sciences, 5(23), 764. Retrieved from