Malawi academic crisis: Lecturers in class boycott, students to petition JB

Lecturers at Polytechnic a constituent college of University of Malawi (Unima) have vowed to continue boycotting classes until government increases their salaries by 113 percent.

General Secretary of Polytechnic Academic Staff Committee on Welfare (PASCOW), Gift Khangamwa said “there is no concrete communication from the government pertaining to our demand.”

He said the lecturers “agreed to continue our sit-in until our demands are met.”

Poly students at the general assembly. Photo by Prince Muta/Nyasa Times

Khangamwa said: “On our part, we have no problem and we are more willing to start the negotiations with government to discuss the matter failing which we are not going back to class.”

He however, said they would have loved if government started the negotiations as soon as possible to resolve the problem so that students should start learning as this stand-off may affect the academic calendar.

Publicity Secretary for the Polytechnic Student Union (PSU), Emmanuel Chamuntolo said that PSU had been briefed by PASCOW on their stand

The students convened a general assembly to inform the students on the stand of their lecturers.

But  they also proposed allowance’s adjustment with 55 percent of which government seems to be reluctant to this demandand they have agreed to petition President Mrs Joyce Banda who is Chancellor of the UNIMA.

They will submit the petition to the Chief Executive Officer of Blantyre City Assembly on Tuesday 21 August 2012.

Speaking during the meeting, the PSU President Wakisa Simukonda, said that it is unfair for the students to be staying at the campus without learning hence the academic calendar has been greatly disrupted.

“The lecturers are not bowing down to the issue of strike as a result we students will suffer more,” Wakisa said.

Malawi Polytechnic lecturers are boycotting classes to force government to increase their salaries by 113 percent. However, government has said that it will increase the salaries of all employees in statutory corporations with 15 percent.

“Last year we failed to complete our school calendar because of similar developments. The lecturers should be concerned with our time being lost,” said one of the students.

Lecturers at a fellow constituent college of Unima, Chanco, are also giving government 21 days to resolve disagreements over salary increment or they will boycott classes.

The lecturers declared the dispute through Chancellor College Academic Staff Union (Ccasu) at a consultative meeting the union’s representatives had with Unima management on Wednesday in Zomba.

Mzuzu University (Mzuni) lecturers are also on strike but are demanding a 21 percent salary increment.—(Additional reporting by Malawi News Agency)

Poly students at the general assembly. Photo by Prince Muta/Nyasa Times

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