May 8, 2021

Public Classes Resume, Teachers Grievances Resolved

Public schools classes across the country will resume from Tuesday, 9th March, 2021 after 2 weeks of teachers’ stay-away to force the government address their grievances and concerns.

The joint Parliamentary Committees on Education, Social and Community Affairs invited the Ministry of Education, Teachers Union of Malawi [TUM] and other education stakeholders to a meeting which was held at the Parliament building in Lilongwe on Tuesday to resolve the matter so that children are back for lessons in public primary and secondary schools.

According to the signed agreement, Teachers Union of Malawi [TUM] committed itself to suspend the strike and called all teachers to resume work from 9th March 2021, while the Ministry of Education is working on modalities for carrying out the agreement or resolution.

In the signed agreement form, Government will provide monetary value for personal protective equipment to the teachers, not entirely as risk allowances as per teachers demand of a full risk allowance, and it is not known how much each teacher will be getting after transilating the PPE into monetary terms.

Speaking at the signing ceremony of the agreement, a member of the Presidential Taskforce Committee on Covid-19 pandemic, Innocencia Chirombo, said sanitizers, face masks and other PPEs that Government was intending to procure, will now be given to teachers as monetary terms of agreement.

Chirombo assured all present during the signing in ceremony that the Taskforce will meet to discuss the terms of the agreement reached with the relevant authorities to determine how much one teacher would get and after assessment is made, the money will be paid to the teachers in cash through Educational Divisional Offices.

The minutes of the agreement reads;…”All the discussions centred on the payment of risk allowances to the teachers with appropriate PPE and in cash-costed package as a once-off payment to cover for the next 3 months, the joint Parliamentary Committees will oversee the implementation of the solution…,’’ signed by Kiswell Dakamau [PS for Education [Administration] and Willy Malimba [TUM President] dated 8th March 2021.

Speaking earlier, Parliamentary Committee on Education Chairperson, Hon. Brainax Kaisa MP blamed the Ministry of Education for the risk allowance mess which has kept children out of school for full 2 weeks and some days saying the Ministry was not honest enough in handling the welfare of teachers particularly on risk allowances.

Hon. Kaisa said for a long time the Ministry of Education has been taking teachers for granted, saying it has failed in the areas of promotions, salary increments and other incentives promised to teachers,  lamenting that many teachers in Malawi are retiring after serving at one grade for many years without getting promotions.

By Vincent Gunde

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