A mass exodus of teaching staff is looming at Likhubula Primary School in Chilomoni Township, Blantyre after 28 teachers asked for postings from the school following a stand-off that has arisen between the teachers and the surrounding community.
In a letter dated 22 May, 2017, the teachers say they do not feel safe at their current workplace after the community openly accused them of misusing the school’s funds.
“For example, during the Parents and Teachers Association (PTA) meeting which was held on May 14, 2017, the community, in the presence of Chilomoni Ward Councilor Philip Litchowa Kametah, accused us of misusing the School Improvement Grant (SIG) money and said they do not want teachers from outside their community,” reads part of the letter.
The teachers’ letter further indicates that the ward councilor said to their face that he has nothing to do with them even if it meant being enemies with the teachers because his people are those in the community.
The teachers want the office of the District Education Manager (DEM) to transfer them from Likhubula because of the anger and hostility the community is directing at them.
“We feel unsafe here. We do not know what comes next. During the meeting, the people openly charged at us shouting Achoke! Achoke! (They should go!).
“As of now we are failing to exercise our duties freely and it is for these reasons that we request for speedy postings out of here for our own security.”
Chilomoni Ward Councilor Litchowa Kametah accused the teachers of corruption when collecting funds from pupils and when handling other projects at the school.
“The teachers are not being truthful on the enrolment of pupils at the school. At the DEM’s Office, we were told that they have 3,200 pupils but when the Story Workshop went to the school, they were given the figure of 2,900 pupils. During the PTA meeting, they said there are 2, 084 pupils,” Kametah said.
He argued that if the teachers are failing to tell the exact figures of pupils at the school, it simply shows there is something corrupt they are doing.
Kametah said as councilor for the area, he wants the teachers to be transparent and have a good relationship with parents since they all have the same interest of educating children at the school.
“Teachers should not have a mentality that they are foreigners here. They should embrace the sense of belonging to the community and have full ownership of the school for it to develop.”
Kametah said he has already asked the DEM’s Office, the school’s administration, the PTA and Group Village Head Chibwana of the area to follow up the issue up and find out the truth of the matter.
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