Following Governments failure to resolve Teachers concerns teachers, through Teachers Union of Malawi(TUM), from 22nd February have started holding a nationwide strike in form of ‘STAY AWAY’ for all public teachers and TTC lecturers in Malawi to pressurize the government to respond their grievances.
In a letter dated 19th February addressed to The Secretary for Education Science and Technology signed by TUM President Willie Malimba, disclosed to have a virtual National Executive Committee of the Teachers Union of Malawi held on 18th February. 2021.
Among other issues the delegates resolved that all teachers in Primary schools and Lecturers in all Teachers Training Colleges that with effect from 22nd February shall hold a ‘STAY AWAY’ industrial action.
TUM president Willie Malimba says the decision has been arrived at following the government’s failure to address Teachers concerns on a number of issues.
“Government is reluctant to address our grievances to provide Covid-19 risk allowances, recruit and deploy IPTE 13 and 14 teachers to reduce teacher /learner ratio in classes as one way to reduce covid 19 risk allowance as well as to provide Personal and Protective Equipment (PPEs) to all public teachers in Malawi and to erect tents in all schools in order to reduce class sizes,” Malimba said.
According to Malimba, TUM has been engaging government severally in negotiations as one way of avoiding industrial action but government has treated the meetings as casually thus the call.
“As TUM, we will only call off the strike upon government’s commitment in addressing our complaint to provide us with Covid-19 risk allowance and PPE to all Teachers in public schools and TTC’s,” he said.
Speaking during random interviews with some teachers in Lilongwe who have opted for anonymity, they have threatened to deal with any teacher who intends to report for duty starting from Monday..
“We are not reporting for duty as it has been directed by government, if we see any teacher reporting for duties we shall deal with that particular teacher, the government should not great teachers as fool, and we are serious about this.
“Teachers are not idiots; we have to teach them a lesson. We are fighting for our own freedom, no one should interfere us.”
TUM has emphasized that government takes full responsibility of the consequences of this industrial action through its negligence in dealing with these matters with urgency they deserve.
Government through Minister of Health Hon Khumbize Kandodo on 17th February announced the long awaited news of re-opening schools.
In a recent press statement dated 20th February signed by Kiswell Dakamau on behalf of Secretary for Education, the Ministry of Education is committed to providing quality education to learners as stipulated in the Republican Constitution Section 25, and Education Act (2013), section 4and 5.
Despite that, the Government has not fulfilled some of the requirements for the opening of school, among them drilling of boreholes as well as erecting of temporary classes to decongest current classrooms among others.
By Esnath Kalawe