In Malawi, where the literacy rate is 62.7 percent, UTSA’s promise to provide educational materials and teacher training through a $13 million grant, the “Read Malawi” project.
On April 1 President Ricardo Romo and Malawian ambassador Steve Matenji signed an agreement of cooperation to promote the long term relationship between Malawi and UTSA.
“This agreement is the first of its kind with a country in Africa,” Romo said. “As a result, we officially have an agreement with one country in every continent.”
UTSA holds agreements with over 20 countries, which gives students more opportunities for education and study abroad programs.
Romo said the agreement between UTSA and Malawi “will be developing cellphone-based education programs for Malawi grade school teachers, collaborative projects involving support for Malawi small businesses and expansion of microenterprise projects, collaborative projects that assist in the expansion of Malawi tourism and possible projects in the field of computer science, engineering and medicine.”
“I am convinced that this project will help the children understand the world around them,” Matenji said. “It will make education fun for both the children and their teachers, it will encourage them to remain in school and take their education seriously and it will help them refrain from risky behavior that has led many to contract the HIV virus and AIDS.”
The goal of the “Read Malawi” program is to encourage improvement in literacy rates of children in the Southeast African region. This project will provide Malawi schools with 120 titles in books and print 5 million books and teachers’ guides for 1,000 elementary schools in Malawi.
The books will be written in English and in Chichewan, the primary native language in Malawi.
Romo’s only stipulation is that the books be distributed to the most rural areas of Malawi and the schools within the most need of the help.
“This will help us unlock the potential of our children… and help us make the world a better place to live,” Matenji said, “one child at a time.”