EdTech Hub – National Numeracy Programme Malawi

Key details

Clients Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation
PartnersResults for Development, University of Cambridge, Brink, Jigsaw


In 1994, the Government of Malawi introduced free primary education, while a necessary and positive step, this led to a surge in student enrolment with massive demands on the education system. This resulted in large class sizes and a lack of infrastructure, educators, and teaching and learning materials, in turn resulting in low learning outcomes, particularly in the foundational years, which comprise most school enrolments.

In this context, in 2020, the Malawi Ministry of Education (MoE) partnered with Cambridge Education (Mott McDonald) to set up the UKAid-funded National Numeracy Programme (NNP).

Through the NNP, the MoE aims to improve learning outcomes in mathematics in Standards 1–4.

In 2021, the government piloted the NNP in 203 schools. From September 2022 to August 2023 (the school year), over 1,100 schools in different regions of Malawi participated in an extended pilot programme. In the future, the MoE plans to scale the programme so that every learner in public primary schools can be part of this initiative

During Term 1 of the 2022–2023 school year, EdTech Hub worked with the department implementing the NNP (Department of Quality Assurance, Ministry of Education) to conduct implementation research to inform the development of the NNP. The Hub carried out in-depth qualitative research in four schools to obtain feedback on NNP materials from teachers, head teachers, and primary education advisors (also known as PEAs).

The research focused on the core components of the NNP model — the learner workbooks, the teacher guides, the school-based teacher learning circles, and the cascade model, combined with the multiplier model of training. Findings suggest that, although the NNP represents an improvement on the previous curriculum, some components, in particular, the Teacher Learning Circles (TLCs) and the learner workbooks, need to be revised and refined to increase the effectiveness of the programme.

Building on these findings, EdTech Hub proposed a new phase of design-based implementation research (DBIR) to be undertaken in Term 2 of the 2022–2023 school year, with the purpose of refining the school-based teacher continuous professional development (TCPD) model of the NNP.

Our support to the National Numeracy Programme is part of our work for the https://opendeved.net/programmes/edtech-hub/.

For further details on the EdTech Hub work in Malawi, see https://edtechhub.org/where-we-work/malawi/.

Correa de Oliveira, A., Kanyoza, C., Lurvink, A.-F., Boilo, V., Kadzamira, E., & Haßler, B. (2023). Teaching and Learning of Mathematics in the Context of the National Numeracy Programme in Malawi: Findings from a Rapid In-depth Qualitative Study [Working Paper]. EdTech Hub. https://doi.org/10.53832/edtechhub.0156
Oliveira, A. C. de, Kanyoza, C., Boilo, V., Chidothi, E., Kadzamira, E., Mpoola, D., McBurnie, C., Phiri, M., & Haßler, B. (2022). Teaching and learning of mathematics in the context of the National Numeracy Programme: Finding from a rapid in-depth qualitative study [Technical Report]. EdTech Hub. https://doi.org/10.53832/edtechhub.0177

You can also view those resources in our Evidence Library here: https://docs.opendeved.net/lib/?featured=L9BBRUZP.RU54ZN6P.