Experts deplore demeaning teachers’ treatment at promotion aptitude test in Dedza

A horde of social commentators and education experts have bemoaned the degrading treatment 2 600 teachers were subjected to when they took a promotion aptitude on Tuesday in Zomba where they were sat down in the open Dedza Football Stadium.

The critics have faulted the Ministry of Education for “lack of proper arrangement” in the manner they brought together the teachers.

Teachers sitting for their interviews on Tuesday

The teachers were taking the aptitude tests for possible promotions to grades H, I and K.

Renowned education expert, Limbani Nsapato, said while consideration for the teachers to be promoted was a good gesture by the government it was “embarrassing and demeaning” for the teachers to take the interviews in the demotivating environment.

“So, as pupils sit on the floor to learn, their teachers have to sit on the floor to get promoted. The promise to make the life of a teacher happy is hitherto broken. How can learners respect teachers and the teaching profession when they see the teachers being treated like that?

“And in these Covid-19 moments how can the government afford to floor teachers like that, some taking interviews without masks, and without observing social distance. You mean authorities could not find a proper arrangement to conduct interviews in a decent and respectful way?” wondered Dr. Nsapato.

And, another expert, Dr. Steve Sharra, said the image that was portrayed was that of “perennial denigration and indignity” of teachers and the teaching profession in Malawi.

Weighing in, Civil Society Education Coalition (CSEC) executive director, Benedicto Kondowe, said the environment the teachers were subjected to was “unacceptable.”

But according to education authorities in Dedza district, the teachers “opted for the arrangement.”

“The teachers opted to be interviewed as one group as opposed to smaller groups because they wanted to finish in good time,” Julius Kamwaza, Dedza Chief Education Officer, told local press on Tuesday.

He said interviews for teachers started Tuesday, adding that they want teachers to get promoted after they get blessings from the National Local Governing Council.

However, Ministry of Education spokesperson, Chikondi Chimala, distanced himself from the issue saying it had to do with the Local Government Service Commission under the Ministry of Local Government and district councils.

“Recruitment, promotions and transfers of primary school teachers are the responsibility of individual councils under Local Government,” Chimala said.

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