Malawi education body to de-campaign MPs for ignoring Education Bill

The Civil Society Education Coalition (CSEC) said it will mount a massive campaign against political parties and MPs who continue to negate their responsibility in supporting the long awaited revised Education Bill of 2010.

“If MPs drag their feet, and accept to see Malawian children not be given what they deserve… it means that they are undermining the very purposeful intention of their election into the House as ambassadors of the people,” CSEC Executive Director and Commissioner Benedicto Kondowe said.

He said Malawians cannot continue to suffer in silence and allow MPs peddle politics day in and day out saying MPs as is the case with government need to have peoples’ interest first.

CSEC is an alliance of over 81 local and international non-governmental organizations that have voluntarily come together in pursuit of quality education in Malawi.

Kondowe: We want the education bill to pass
Kondowe: We want the education bill to pass

CSEC submission

According to CSEC submission Malawi’s education sector is still governed and guided by the 1962 Education Act which evolved before independence and propagated government’s absolute monopoly

“The 1962 Act addressed white colour jobs hence not culturally sensitive i.e. cultural integration, new job market requirement, growth in informal sector, lifelong learning. To date, fails to appreciate the evolving context in which education is implemented,” reads part of the submission.

CSEC also pin pointed legal challenges relating to operation under the 1962, Act such as the absence of aregulatory framework for implementation of free and compulsory Primary Education, no clear mandate to register and supervise Private institutions, no regulation of Teachers Training Colleges, no strict obligation for private schools and Colleges to recruit licensed and registered teachers and no standards to guide Minister in refusing to register a private schools

The watchdog leaders met the Legal Affairs and Education Committees of Parliament last week where it vented its anger on delays by Parliament to pass the bill.

“We therefore appeal to them to deliberate the Bill and incorporate all key missing links within the current seating of Parliament. We also urge Malawians across the country to hold their MPs accountable and if not, chuck them out come 2014,” Kondowe said.

But Legal Affairs Committee Chairperson Kezzie Msukwa told the media that the Bill will be passed but only after careful scrutiny.

Kondowe said it is evident that politics has marred the Bill as opposition parties want to use the Bill as bait to overstretch its majority in Parliament.

He said scoring a political point on the Bill which has not been revised since 1962 is bad or chauvinistic politics.

“As an institution, we believe that progressive politics calls for accountability to the people for which political parties in the House are expected to practice constructive politics,” he said.

Kondowe blamed MPs for failing to draw a distinct between content and operational issues in the Bill.

“Most of the arguments that they are advancing relate to operation or methodology in which a decision has to made whether such elements undermine the intent of the law.

“It must be made known the Minister is given powers under Section 112 to formulate plans and guidelines to address operational issues which are important but may not be include in the legislation itself for the achievement of the law intention,” he said.

Parliament continues its deliberation on mid-term budget review in the capital Lilongwe this Monday.

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