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Malawi matters

Your report last week on the links between Scotland and Malawi gave good coverage across the board. We were disappointed, however, that there was no specific mention of Link Community Development.

We not only support partnerships between schools in Scotland and Malawi, we are also actively engaged in quality improvement. With support from the Scottish Government, and other agencies, Link works with nearly 400 schools in the Dedza and Mulanje districts of Malawi. It focuses on improving school management and planning, and setting up and supporting mothers' groups and other sustainable means to enable more children to attend and continue to attend schools.

You rightly refer to one mountain that has to be climbed: "Malawi needs to build an additional 25,000 classrooms over the next decade if it is to meet its target of increasing the number of youngsters receiving primary education from 80 per cent to 95 per cent, and from 16 per cent to 30 per cent for secondary education." It is a much greater mountain than that, since the 80 per cent really refers to "starting primary education", as only 30 per cent of those complete the eight years.

Further, most of the secondary schools do not have qualified teachers. And, even if every single secondary school leaver trained as a teacher, the shortage of teachers still could not be met.

Martyn Roebuck, chairman, LCD Scotland.

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