Domasi students petition govt over ‘dehumanizing treatment’

Serving teachers currently pursuing various diploma and primary degree programmes at Domasi College of Education in the eastern city of Zomba have petitioned ministry of education over what they say ‘dehumanizing, demotivating and degrading’ treatment which the ministry officials are meting out on them.

They are pushing the ministry to consider relocating those graduated with diplomas and degrees to either teachers, training colleges or secondary schools and not keeping them in their previous respective primary schools as are the status quo.

In the petition the teachers say they learnt with deep concern  the circular titled “Consideration of Promotion of Teachers Holding Bachelor of Education Primary and Diploma in Education,” signed by the Principal Secretary for Basic and Secondary Education Anjimile Mtila Oponyo, which stated that the ministry is finding problems to promote teachers holding Bachelor of Education Primary from Domasi due to lack of vacancies in Teacher Training Colleges and those with Diplomas in Secondary Schools.

The circular which was issued in July last year further states that promotions will be effected upon the teachers being successful in an interview adding that the posts the graduates will hold upon completion of studies do exist in primary schools only.

But in reaction through the petition the students say posts that exist in primary schools such as Grade J and I require somebody to serve for a certain period of time without even attaining further studies.

“Therefore, subjecting a teacher who has gone for further studies in anticipation to automatic promotion is a far reaching fallacy of generalization,  dehumanizing, demotivating and degrading” reads the petition in part.

The petition has also described as “false” claims contained in the circular that secondary schools and teacher training colleges are full of well trained and qualified teachers.

“Most of us have once served in very remote areas in particular in Community Day Secondary Schools (CDSS) and continue to do so during holidays because of shortages of teachers. Most teachers who are in these secondary schools are T2 teachers and most of those in TTC’s are Secondary School teachers while others are not teachers at all.

“When did the ministry of education realize that TTC’s and Secondary Schools are congested while at the same time continue sending students for upgrading to Domasi, the ministry’s own training institution?”

The petitioners are also accusing the ministry officials of unprofessional conduct by continuing to hire people who have non- educational qualifications such as Journalism, Theology, and Accounting among others as teachers in conventional secondary schools and teacher training colleges while sidelining graduates from Domasi College whose training is in tandem with the primary school teacher training and secondary education respectively.

“Moreover, there is a contradiction in what the ministry is doing. For instance while we told to report for duty in our previous primary schools, the college sends us to  TTC’s and Secondary schools respectively for teaching practice. We feel one, practices his/her job at a place similar to the one he/she will work.

“Be reminded that we are not seeking employment but we are already in the system hence going for an interview in order to be posted to a secondary school or teacher training college is un-warranted. It is by virtue of obtaining a higher qualification that is necessitating us to be posted to a new environment all together.

Over 200 students who have signed the petition and delivered by Chairman for Serving Teachers Committee Frank Sumani and his vice Christopher Mpakeni are asking the ministry of education to reconsider its position on the matter “and see that things are adding up or else we shall organize ourselves to use other means to protest over these degrading and retrogressive decisions.”

Mpakeni told Nyasa Times after they delivered the petition that the delay to act on the circular was because of long holiday the students had from July when the circular was issued up until a week ago when they returned to the college

“This made us unable to mobilize ourselves and reach a decision,” he said.

Receiving the petition on Tuesday in the capital Lilongwe Director for Human Resource in the Ministry of Education a Mr Ching’oma, assured the students that the concerns raised in petition will be critically looked into and promised to come back to them as soon as possible.

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