St Michael’s Girls School in Mangochi is one of the better secondary schools in Malawi, although by international standards it doesn’t look like much. The buildings are run down with broken windows here and there. Goats from the local village roam freely across the campus, butting heads or lying on stone benches in the shade. But the students are smartly dressed, happy, and keen to learn. The teachers are skilled and motivated.
Makankhula Full Primary School in Dedza is typical of Malawi’s rural schools. A row of brick and concrete buildings front onto a wide playing field between a range of low hills and the main road from Lilongwe to Blantyre. While older children learn in the classrooms, their younger counterparts sit in the shade beneath giant trees, watching teachers write on portable blackboards leant against the trunks.