Malawi Technical College students plan nationwide strike

In Malawi strikes and petitions have become part of life that a week can hardly pass without hearing about them.

The latest is a looming nationwide class boycott for all technical colleges’ students across the country in protest against their pitiable welfare.

The students have given government until June 24th to improve the standards of their welfare which they claim has reached appalling levels.

Publicity Secretary for Technical Colleges’ Students in Malawi, Edmot Nkhoma said the standards in the state funded education institutions have drastically crashed and need urgent attention.

Kayira: Has called for a meeting
Kayira: Has called for a meeting

“We have written government, through the Ministry of Labour, to do something by June 24. If things do not improve we will have no choice but to go on a strike,” warned Nkhoma, adding that their letter was presented to government a few weeks ago.

In the letter, the students are bemoaning insufficient funding to all the colleges, a development that has resulted in, among other challenges, poor diet for the students and inadequate learning and teaching materials.

The students are also asking government to intervene on company’s reluctance to recognize technical college students trained under the Competence Based Education and Training (CBET).

However, Nkhoma said government through Ministry of Labour Principal Secretary,  Wezi Kayira, has invited the students’ representatives to a meeting on the same day (June 24) to map the way forward.

“The ministry has indicated it would address some of the issues by end of the month. But first they want to meet us on June 24.

“After the meeting we will give them about a week to ensure they work on our concerns and if they fail we will march to various District Commissioners’ offices to present our petition,” warned Nkhoma.

The development comes after students from the University of Malawi’s Chancellor and Polytechnic Colleges stayed for weeks without learning in an effort to force government to increase their monthly allowances and reduce fees.

Classes were expected to open today, Monday, June 17 2013, though the students’ bodies have indicated the battle is still on and it is not automatic that classes will resume normally.

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