The Minister of Education Agnes Nyalonje has said social dialogue between the government and teachers’ unions is critical towards setting education standards, developing policies and devising programmes that promote a decent working environment for teachers and engender a functioning education system.
Nyalonje was speaking during a 23rd congress for Teachers Union of Malawi (TUM) in Lilongwe on Thursday. She observed that there is nothing unusual for disagreements to arise between the two parties.
“Teachers and government’s aspirations may always coincide and there is also a challenge of finding adequate resources to meet our national education needs. What is important throughout the two parties’ engagement is however that there should be openness and honesty with each other about the intentions and should treat each other with respect,” she observed.
Behind all interactions, she said, the government and teachers have a common desire, which is to develop a strong education system that meets the needs of all children and youth supported by a teaching profession that is respected nationally and meets the expectations of its profession.
She reassured that Tonse Government will move ahead with its activities from construction of classrooms, teachers houses, water, toilets facilities, procurement of teaching and learning materials, promotion of distance and learning, recruitment of teachers to improved administration and public sector reforms.
TUM General Secretary, Charles Kumchenga, said the union appreciates the government’s effort in improving the quality of education in the country.
“We are also appreciating an open door policy instilled within the ministry,” he said.
Kumchenga, however, highlighted a number of challenges that teachers are still facing and require immediate government intervention.
Some challenges include withholding of arrears, promotions, recruitment of teachers to meet teacher pupil ratio, rural allowances and Covid-19, among others.