Teachers in Malawi’s public primary and secondary schools and Teacher Training Colleges (TTC) have stuck to their guns to resume a nation-wide strike in form of a stay starting from 6th April, 2021.
This is contained in a letter dated 4th April from Teachers Union of Malawi (TUM) President Willie Malimba addressed to government and the general public.
The teachers argue that just like healthcare workers, they too qualify for the risk allowances as they are prone to contracting Coronavirus in their line of duty.
Their discontent follows government’s failure through the Presidential Taskforce on COVID-19 to address their demands on the provision of appropriate personal protective equipment (PPE)’s in cash as a once off payment to cover for the next three months.
“This follows the expiry of a seven-day notice of our intention to resume the industrial action if government fails to pay COVID-19 risk allowances to public primary and secondary teachers plus TTC Lecturers in Malawi.
“In addition, the notice emanates from government’s response through a letter from the Parliamentary Committee on Education, reference number Ref: NA/PC/08, dated 24th March 2021 which clearly indicates that the Presidential Taskforce on Covid-19 doesn’t support the resolution of providing teachers with the appropriate cash equivalent to Personal Protective Equipment for a period of three months," read the letter.
It further warned authorities the stay-away shall only be called off after all the concerned teachers have been provided with the appropriate PPEs in cash-costed package as a once- off payment.
However, the industrial action comes barely days after the release of the unsatisfying performance by students in the recent 2020 Malawi School Certificate of Education examination results.
Out of over 138, 000 students who sat for the exams, only 57, 293 have passed representing a 41-42 percent pass rate which was partly attributed to the COVID-19 induced holiday which lasted close to 6 months in 2020.