The Presidential Taskforce on COVID-19 has rejected a request by teachers to been given risk allowance in view of the raging COVID-19 pandemic.
Education minister, Agnes NyaLonje disclosed this today in Parliament where she said after thorough review, the taskforce has seen it fit not to give teachers risk allowances.
This comes barely a day after the Teachers Union of Malawi (TUM) met President Lazarus Chakwera to discuss the matter.
Chakwera assured them of government’s commitment to protect their lives.
Meanwhile according to NyaLonje, the communication has already been made to TUM but Union president, Willie Malimba says they are yet to see the communication.
Malimba says following the rejection of their proposal, their ongoing stay-away will still be sustained.
“Soon after getting the news through the media, we convened a meeting as TUM executive and agreed to keeping on holding our stay-away strike,” Malimba said in an interview with Kulinji.com.
The strike has also not been welcomed by opposition Members of Parliament as the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP)’s chief whip, Martha Chanju said teachers deserve risk allowances.
The minister has also told the August House that teachers and students will be supplied with the virus’ vaccine once all the procurement processes are done.
Commenting on this, Malimba said this is a clear indication that government really recognize how exposed teachers are to the virus but is just willingly neglecting their calls.
“We are even surprised with that. Why is it that government want us to be vaccinated first yet it is the same government which says we are not at risk,” he stressed.
Primary and secondary school teachers including lecturers in teachers training colleges in the country have not reported for duties since the reopening of schools on Monday, February 22, 2021 saying their lives are at risk hence they cannot proceed start teaching.
The Ministry of Labour has prioritised health workers for their direct contact with COVID patients for the risk allowances.