World TVET Database - Country Profiles


TVET Country Profile
1. TVET mission
2. System
3. Governance and financing
4. TVET teachers and trainers
5. Qualifications
6. Projects
7. Statistical information
8. Links
9. References
published: 2012-08-07

1. TVET mission, legislation and national policy or strategy

TVET mission

According to the TEVET policy of 1998 (Ministry of Labour and Vocational Training, 1998), the TEVET system in Malawi has the following objectives:

  • To promote an integrated, demand-driven, competency-based, modular technical, entrepreneurial and vocational and training system;
  • To monitor gaps between supply and demand for skills;
  • To support the adoption and application of appropriate technologies;
  • To promote managerial and business skills and a spirit of entrepreneurial culture with regard to both wage and self-employment;
  • To facilitate sound and sustainable financing and funding mechanisms; and
  • To facilitate and bring together the expertise and moderate the different interests of the stakeholders.
TVET legislation

  • Education in Malawi is governed by the Education Act of 1962.
  • The National Education Sector Plan (NESP) 2008-2017 provides a vision of the whole education sector in the country as a catalyst for socio-economic development and industrial growth and as an instrument for empowering the poor, the weak and voiceless (Ministry of Education, Science and Technology, 2008). The NESP further pledges to expand access to technical, entrepreneurial and vocational education and training (TEVET) and rehabilitate colleges.
  • The TEVET Act no 6 passed in 1999 created the Technical, Entrepreneurial and Vocational Education and Training Authority (TEVETA). The decision was taken by the Ministry of Labour and Vocational Training to improve the quality of the operational management of TEVET and to enable TEVET to be developed in partnership with industry. The act stipulates 18 functions for TEVETA. The act also established the training payroll levy, which is levied on employers, to create a sustainable financial framework for TEVET in the medium term (UNESCO, 2010).

  • UNESCO-IBE (2010). World Data on Education VII Ed. 2010/11. Malawi. Geneva: UNESCO-IBE.

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    2. TVET formal, non-formal and informal systems

Scheme compiled by UNESCO-UNEVOC.

Formal TVET system

The Education system in Malawi comprises eight years of primary education, four years of secondary education and four years of tertiary education. After completing two years of secondary education, students can take the National Junior Certificate of Secondary Education (JCE), followed by the Malawi School Certificate Examination (MSCE). These two certificates can give access to TEVET.

TEVET is provided in technical colleges, community-based training centres, private technical and vocational training providers, and the apprenticeship training system which combines on-the-job practical training with theory courses in college.

Most of public formal TEVET is provided in seven Technical Colleges (TCs) that provide four years technical and vocational training courses. These can be divided into: i) the ‘regular’ programmes, sponsored and regulated by TEVETA and provided through apprenticeships; and ii) ‘parallel’ programmes, run under the responsibility of the TCs themselves. These include apprenticeship and non-apprenticeship programmes. Apprenticeship-based programmes in TCs start with one year of initial training in the TC, followed by three years, each with one term in college and two periods in the industry.

In addition, there are institutions that provide sector-specific training, such as the Malawi Institute of Hospitality, the Marine Training College and the Policy Training Schools that offer initial training in specific sectors, as well as shorter, in-service courses.

Non-formal and informal TVET systems

Non-formal training is offered through a variety of private training providers and NGOs. These training institutions can vary in terms of course duration as well as the subject areas covered. Private providers of sector-specific training also exist, such as the National Construction Industry Council and Bankers association of Malawi. Companies may also offer training to their employees, but regulated by TEVETA and TEVETA refunds half of the training expenses. Larger companies have their own training centres, others sponsor staff to attend external courses. A large part of workplace-training is on-the-job training.

Informal training is provided mainly through traditional apprenticeships in the informal sector, whereby a trainee enters into an agreement with a master craftsperson. This type of TVET is by far the largest in terms of student numbers. Traditional apprenticeships are mostly in traditional and typically male-dominated trades, including bicycle repair, boat building, construction, mechanics, welding, woodwork and shoe repair. The length of training varies depending on the trade, the aptitude of the trainee and the master craftsperson providing the training, but trainees have the option of participating in Trade Test examinations at the end of their apprenticeship, organised by the Ministry of Labour.


  • UNESCO-IBE (2010). World Data on Education VII Ed. 2010/11. Malawi. Geneva: UNESCO-IBE.
  • World Bank (2010). Education System in Malawi. Washington: World Bank.

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    3. Governance and financing


In 2006, responsibility for TEVET was transferred from the Ministry of Labour to the Ministry of Education, Science and Technology (MOEST), and more specifically the Directorate of Technical and Vocational Training (DTVT). Technical Colleges are under the responsibility of the MOEST. In 2012 it was transferred back to Ministry of Labour. Ministries that play a part in the field of TEVET in addition to the Ministry of Labour are:

  • The Ministry of Economic Planning and Development, responsible for providing strategic guidance, advice and technical support to government on economic and development planning, and monitoring and evaluation of socio-economic issues to ensure attainment of the country’s development goals;
  • The Ministry of Industry and Trade, which coordinates the Forum for Public-Private Sector Dialogue that may be used as a platform for discussing issues such as the match of demand and supply of skills.
TEVETA was established in 1999 as an independent authority intended to act as a regulating and coordinating body for all of TEVET and to facilitate and promote TEVET. Its mandate is to create an integrated TEVET System that is demand-driven, competency-based, modular, comprehensive, accessible and flexible and consolidated enough to service both urban and rural Malawi.


TEVET is financed through a variety of sources, both public and private. Public Technical Colleges receive base funding from the public budget and programme funding from TEVETA, as well as contributions from private households, mainly in the form of tuition fees. The TEVET Act of 1999 also introduced the TEVET Levy that TEVETA manages. This is 1% of the gross emoluments of all employers paid to TEVETA and is used to reimburse training expenses to companies.

An overview of all the sources is provided in a table below.

Sources of TVET funding in Malawi

(Table extracted from The World Bank (2010). The Education System in Malawi. Washington: The World Bank)


  • UNESCO-IBE (2010). World Data on Education VII Ed. 2010/11. Malawi. Geneva: UNESCO-IBE.
  • World Bank (2010). Education System in Malawi. Washington: World Bank.

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    4. TVET teachers and trainers

There are currently no TEVET teacher training institutions in Malawi. Teachers and trainers in TEVET institutions are usually graduates from the Malawi Polytechnic or of technical colleges. The Malawi Polytechnic offers tertiary education in TEVET intended for teachers of technical subjects in secondary schools.

Data from 2010 shows that, among teachers working in public technical colleges, 50,9% hold a Bachelor of Science in Technical Education, 36,6% hold a Diploma in Technical Education, 10,7% hold a Certificate in Technical Education and 1,8% possess other qualifications. According to the World Bank (2010), under qualified teachers, i.e. those that do not possess at least a Diploma qualification, are offered upgrading courses by the Government and TEVETA. There are also efforts underway to develop a TEVET teacher training programme.

In addition, there appear to be severe shortages of TEVET teachers and trainers, with some sources estimating that around 55% of teaching vacancies are filled.


  • World Bank (2010). Education System in Malawi. Washington: World Bank.

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    5. Qualifications and qualifications frameworks

There are currently three parallel qualifications frameworks in TEVET in Malawi:

  • The National Trade Test, administered by the Ministry of Labour;
  • The Malawi Crafts Certificate, administered by the Ministry of Education; and
  • The Competence Based Education and Training (CBET), introduced and managed by TEVETA.
The National Trade Test (NTT) is a three-level qualification system and is the oldest in Malawi. Assessment consists of both a theoretical and practical component, although emphasis is on practical skills. There is an open admission to the test, i.e. candidates do not need to have attended a training programme in order to sit the test. A combination of external candidates, who may have, for example, acquired their skills in the informal sector, and candidates following training courses in public or private TEVET institutions sit the test. The NTT has 28 prescribed trades.

The Malawi Crafts and Advanced Crafts Certificate is a two-level qualification system introduced in the 1980s. In contrast to the NTT it is programme-based: completion of two years of training in a TC is required for the Crafts Certificate and four years for the Advanced Crafts Certificate.

The TEVET certificate of Competence Based Education and Training (CBET) system is a new 4-level credit point system introduced by TEVETA in 2005. It requires attendance in a specified training programme and is the target qualification of formal TEVETA-sponsored apprentices and trainees.

In addition, there exist a variety of foreign TVET qualification systems such as the British City & Guilds and Pitman.

National Qualifications Framework (NQF)

A National Qualifications Framework (NQF) is currently being developed by TEVETA, in line with the SADC Protocol on Education and Training of 1997 whereby all SADC countries are expected to develop NQFs. TEVETA has established a Quality Assurance Division with the responsibility of managing the TEVET Qualifications Framework (TQF) and NQF. According to TEVETA, the following elements make up the TQF development process:


  • World Bank (2010). Education System in Malawi. Washington: World Bank.
  • Webpage of the Technical, Entrepreneurial and Vocational Education and Training Authority (TEVETA). Accessed: 14 December 2011.

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    6. Current and ongoing reforms, projects, and challenges

Current reforms and major projects

Technical Vocational Education Skills Training for HIV- and AIDS Orphans and Vulnerable Youth (TVST-OVAY) Project: this is a two-year project which targets HIV- or AIDS-orphaned, vulnerable, and affected youth (OVAYs) across the country, funded by the National AIDS Commission (NAC). The purpose of the project is to improve the quality of life for 2510 AIDS-orphaned, vulnerable and affected youth in Malawi through equipping them with various skills.

Major project activities include the training of 1900 HIV- and AIDS-vulnerable youth in various skills of their choice through their local assemblies, using the CBET approach, and to train 610 HIV- and AIDS orphans and vulnerable youth through registered private colleges in various technical and vocational trades using the CBET approach. After training, the students will be given start-up capital including tools in order to start up their business ventures in line with skills acquired. In order to ensure the sustainability of their business ventures, the beneficiaries will also be equipped with entrepreneurship skills.

See also: National Qualifications Framework, Section 5.


The National Education Sector Plan (NESP) 2008-2017 identifies the following challenges for TEVET in Malawi:

  • Inadequate funding, lack of prioritisation, and poor links with the Technical, Entrepreneurial and Vocational Education and Training Authority (TEVETA);
  • Outdated curriculum;
  • Non-availability of a TEVET-oriented teacher training college;
  • Inadequate mainstreaming of gender equality, HIV/AIDS matters and special needs in TEVET; and
  • Inadequate infrastructure.
The priority areas set by the Government of Malawi to tackle these challenges are: governance and management, quality and relevance, and access and equity.


  • Webpage of the Technical, Entrepreneurial and Vocational Education and Training Authority (TEVETA). Accessed: 14 December 2011.

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7. Statistical information(*)

Population (Million)



Average yearly population growth rate 2005 - 2010

+3.24 %

For comparison:
Global average yearly population growth rate 2005-2010: 1.17%
6.43 6.39
female male  
7.45 7.46
female male  

50.16 %

49.97 %

Table compiled by UNESCO-UNEVOC based on UN ESA: World Population Prospects/ the 2010 revision

GDP per capita (currency: US$)













Table compiled by UNESCO-UNEVOC based on World Bank database

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8. Links to UNEVOC centres and TVET institutions

UNEVOC Centres

TVET institutions

  • Malawi Ministry of Education, Science and Technology

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    9. References, bibliography, abbreviations


Further reading

  • Aggarwal, A., Hofmann, C. and Phiri, M.(2010). A study on informal apprenticeships in Malawi. Employment Sector Paper No 9. Geneva: International Labour Organisation.

  • CBET - Competence Based Education and Training
  • DTVT - Directorate of Technical and Vocational Training
  • JCE - National Junior Certificate of Secondary Education
  • MOEST - Ministry of Education, Science and Technology
  • MSCE - Malawi School Certificate Examination
  • NESP - National Education Sector Plan
  • NTT - National Trade Test
  • TEVET - Technical, Entrepreneurial and Vocational Education and Training
  • TEVETA - Technical, Entrepreneurial and Vocational Education and Training Authority
  • TQF - TEVET Qualifications Framework

    Published by: UNESCO-UNEVOC
    Publication Date: 2012-08-07
    Validated by: Mr Noel Drake Kufaine;
    Head of Technical Education Department;
    Head of Technical Education Department;
    Malawi Polytechnic, University of Malawi

page date 2017-05-05

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