Malawi teachers threaten strike from June 17 over promotions

Thousands of Malawian teachers from public primary schools will down their tools starting June 17 if government fails to increase the number of promoted teachers in various positions.

At the moment only teachers from Lilongwe Urban, Blantyre Urban and Chiradzulu district public primary schools have issued the warning.

The teachers’ threat comes barely a week after their colleagues in the Northern Region city of Mzuzu staged a sit-in demanding the Teaching Service Commission to rectify anomalies in the promotions.

The teachers from more than 40 public schools in the city marched to Mzuzu District Education Manager’s office where they presented a petition and also staged a four-hour vigil before they were dispersed by police.

Teacher strike
Teacher strike

In the recent incident, the teachers are angry with government’s move to promote just a few out of thousands who did the interviews some weeks ago.

The disappointed teachers say they will not administer end of year examinations if authorities fail to address their concerns with urgency.

On Friday some teachers convened a meeting in Blantyre where they agreed to go on strike if government does not promote more of them.

Further, the disgruntled teachers have accused their mother body, Teachers Union of Malawi (TUM) senior officials of corruption in the promotion process.

The development has reportedly resulted in the disappointed teachers from Lilongwe Urban announcing withdrawal of their membership from union.

But TUM Secretary General Denis Kalekeni has hit back at the teachers’ allegations saying his organisation does not take any part in the promotion process as it is entirely government business.

“TUM responsibility is to lobby government to promote teachers but the whole process is left in the hands of government through the Ministry of Education. Those who are perpetrating those allegations are just disgruntled and do not know how the system of promotion works,” argued Kalekeni.

According to sources, more than 3000 PT4 teachers in Blantyre Urban underwent PT3 interviews but to their surprise only 69 got promoted.

“We are very disappointed with government because of the way it has handled the promotion issue. It is absurd that out of over 3000 teachers who underwent the interviews in Blantyre Urban only 69 were promoted.

“If it [government] does not change its decision and increase the number, we have agreed that come June 17thwe will go on strike,” one female teacher at Manja Primary School in Blantyre told Nyasa Times Sunday.

She said the teachers were particularly unhappy that some of the promoted teachers have worked for just few years leaving out those who have served government for close to 20 years.

The teachers argue that this is sharp contrast with government’s own promise that it would this year promote 11 000 primary school teachers to various positions.

Government’s decision was as a result of TUM’s demand to have the teachers promoted after noting that several of them had stayed on one grade for many years without consideration of promotion.

According to sourced information PT4 teachers earn about K33 000 per month, which is K16 000 less than what a PT3 teacher earns.

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