Photo: Ken Opprann

Improving Mathematics Teacher Education in Malawi

Mathematics is a core subject of basic education, and a foundation for other sciences. The University of Malawi and University of Stavanger work together to strengthen mathematics education for children in Malawi.

Project title: Improving Mathematics Teacher Education in Malawi.


Malawi National Examinations Board statistics show that many learners perform poorly in mathematics in both primary and secondary school national examinations. Furthermore, the Southern and Eastern Africa Consortium for Monitoring Educational Quality (SACMEQ) II and III numeracy results show that primary school learners in Malawi only master the lower levels of mathematical numeracy while the higher levels remain un-mastered. The results for the two studies show that Malawi is one of the two countries with the lowest achievement levels in the Southern Africa Region (SACMEQ, 2010).

The very low numeracy levels show, among other things, that the teaching of mathematics in primary schools is not being effective. This poor performance continues in secondary mathematics and further, which is worrying considering that mathematics is a very important subject for development of capacity in other sciences.

Universities for development

The project wishes to address this by improving the quality and capacity of teacher education in Malawi in different but related ways. Through the existing expertise at the University of Stavanger and University of Malawi, the project will build the capacity of mathematics education staff at the University of Malawi and together develop courses that will contribute towards improving quality of mathematics education.

Innovative teaching and research

Capacity building at the University of Malawi will strengthen the faculty’s capacity to offer quality teaching and learning for both teacher educator students and teacher students. This again, will strengthen the capacity at teacher education colleges in the country and help them offer quality mathematics teaching and learning for their teacher students. As a result, the quality of teachers from the primary teacher education colleges would be increased and would lead to improved quality of mathematics teaching and learning in schools.

Key goals and achievements

Overall goal

Children in Malawi primary schools will receive high quality, research based mathematics education taught by qualified mathematics educators

The objectives of the project are

  1. To produce more and better qualified graduates relevant to mathematics education needs of Malawi
  2. To increase the capacity to deliver high quality mathematics teacher education at University of Malawi
  3. To produce more and better mathematics education research relevant to Malawi
  4. To increase the capacity of University of Malawi to deliver relevant high quality research in mathematics education
  5. To increase and improve the international collaboration in mathematics education research
  6. To create institutional development for mathematics education relevant to Malawi
  7. To create the appropriate infrastructure, policies and systems to ensure sustainable capacity for mathematics education at University of Malawi
  8. To ensure the administrative and financial systems are up to date and adequate
Published 24.06.2013
Last updated 16.02.2015

Total budget

2013-2018: 16,5 million NOK

Contact persons for the project

Dr Mercy Kazima, Associate professor of mathematics education, University of Malawi, e-mail:

Dr Arne Jakobsen, Associate professor, University of Stavanger,