Improving educational performance of children in Chilore Primary school using quality improvement approaches in Mangochi District, Malawi
A team of community volunteers and government extension workers, with support from USAID, from 16 villages in Namwera, Mangochi District used quality improvement (QI) methods to mobilise four primary schools and their 16 surrounding communities to improve the performance of vulnerable children in the four primary schools. In December 2013, the community QI team assessed the wellbeing of a sample of 132 vulnerable children. The Child Status Index (CSI) assessment revealed that 70% of the poor scores were on education performance, food insecurity, and shelter conditions. As a result, Chingwenya Community QI team prioritized improving education performance in four primary schools in their catchment area. Through root cause analysis, they found numerous challenges faced by vulnerable children ranging from poor performance, frequent absenteeism of learners, limited numbers of teachers, poor infrastructure, lack of school teaching, lack of learning materials, and cultural practices and norms that affected education calendars. The QI team developed and tested a number of changes to improve school attendance and performance in the four schools. From December 2013 to August 2016, the QI team gathered primary school sex-disaggregated performance data. All four targeted schools have demonstrated improvements in termly pass rates of children. One of the schools, Chilore Primary School, has demonstrated sustained improvements across the nine academic terms. The school observed achievements from 42% in term one (December 2013) to 81% in term nine (August 2016). Not only did the team achieve improvements in the pass rate, but also managed to close the gender difference in performance of boys and girls.