CSEC urges reconstitution of teachers council, cites lack of consultations and adherence to gender laws

Civil Society Education Coalition (CSEC) has urged the government to reconstitute the Teachers Council of Malawi, arguing “there have been lack of meaningful consultations and adherence to gender laws” in the appointment of the council’s members.

The government, through the Ministry of Education, finally established a nine member Teachers Council of Malawi, according to the Education Act of 2013 section 57.

Secretary for Education, Chikondano Mussa, in a press release dated 30th August, 2022, said the council will be the body responsible for, among others, regulating the teaching profession in Malawi.

Dr. Limbani Nsapato

However, CSEC, in a statement dated 1st September, 2022, says it expresses its deep concerns over the appointment of the council members.

“While acknowledging that the appointment of members of the council is regulated by section 58 of the Education Act, 2013 (Cap. 30:01 of the Laws of Malawi), we regrettably note that there has been lack of meaningful consultations in the appointment.

The said provision enlists the institutions or sectors where the members of the council should be drawn as well as provides the requisite numbers allowable. However, corporate governance requires that identification of individual members from the pre-determined sectors or institutions should be done consultatively.

Therefore, the failure to meet this expectation undermines the internal governance of the said institutions or sectors. In addition, such unprocedural act by government undermines the trust and confidence that Malawians ought to have with the council.

Furthermore, we observe that the list does not specify the sectors or institutions that are being represented by each of the nominees. This would undermine accountability of the members to their constituencies,” reads in part the statement, which is signed by CSEC Executive Director Benedicto Kondowe and Board Chairperson Dr. Limbani Nsapato.

Benedicto Kondowe

CSEC further notes that there are only three females in the council, a development it says “blatantly” breaches section 11 of the Gender Equality Act (No. 3 of 2013), which obligates appointing or recruiting authority in the public service to appoint no less than 40 percent and no more 60 percent of either sex. The coalition, therefore, reminds the government to remain steadfast in the implementation of the gender laws.

CSEC adds that, in particular, there should also be deliberate efforts to bring in the council an expert on inclusive education for fair representation of specialist teachers in the discharge of the council mandate.

“This will uphold objectivity and proper scrutiny of the nominated members. Additionally, we urge government to uphold the principle of diversity of representation as envisaged under section 58 of the Education Act, 2013. There is need for more clarity on the sectors or institutions that are being represented by every nominee to enhance transparency and accountability”.

Nevertheless, CSEC commends the government for finally establishing the Teachers Council of Malawi, although the coalition says the decision has been long overdue following the enactment of the Education Act of 2013.

“We believe that the Ministry of Education will step up the roll out of the council and provide the needed material and technical support for the council to meaningfully and effectively fulfill its noble mandate.

We have the belief that the establishment sets the pace for professionalizing the teaching profession. Such reorganization is not only key for the delivery of quality inclusive education but it is also a precondition for upholding standards and ethics for teaching as a profession.

We have raised the foregoing issues appreciating the strategic importance of the Teachers Council of Malawi in transforming the education sector. Therefore, the need to create a public institution that is in line with the relevant laws of the land and secures public trust cannot be overemphasized,” the statement winds up.

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