Teachers in the country, it seems, should continue getting used to not being given full attention to as President Lazarus Chakwera’s State of the Nation Address (SONA) presented at Parliament Building in the capital Lilongwe was loudly silent on their woes.
An impasse between teachers and their employer—government—has been on for months now following the latter’s decision not to honour teachers’ demands for a once-off payment of Covid-19 risk allowances.
Teachers Union of Malawi (TUM) president Willy Malimba told Nyasa Times in a previous interview that it was “heartrending” that government could not appreciate their predicament as they were at risk too since they interacted with learners from diverse homes.
Last week, TUM gave government seven days to honour their demand or they would execute an unspecified action.
But government through education minister, Agnes Nyalonje, has repeatedly rejected the teachers’ demands arguing they were not necessarily at risk.
In his address, Chakwera was mum on the issue in spite of the fact that he was quick to comment on another trending issue—the rejection of Martha Chizuma as Anti Corruption Bureau (ACB) by the Public Appointments Committee (PAC) of parliament.
Instead, on education, Chakwera said his administration remained committed to its manifesto pledge to “make primary education compulsory to ensure that no child is left behind.”
The SONA also bragged about the unbundling of the University of Malawi (UNIMA) as well as the increased enrolment into the university from 36,000 students in the 2019/2020 academic year to 45,809 in the current year amid Covid-19 restrictions.
“Meanwhile, our quest for funding for the construction of Mbelwa University for the study of animal sciences is underway. Additionally, in the 2021/2022 financial year, we will accelerate the completion of school infrastructure projects, including Chikwawa, Mchinji and Rumphi Teacher Training Colleges, and the expansion of Domasi College of Education with support from JICA,” said Chakwera.