Mzuzu University (Mzuni) education students on Friday presented a petition to President Joyce Banda, the university’s chancellor, calling on government to withdraw a new recruitment policy that wants education graduates to undergo interviews before they can be deployed into the country’s secondary schools.
The students, who chanted anti-government songs from their campus to Mzuzu City civic offices, feel that the new policy is compromising the quality of education and welfare of qualified, skilled teachers.
Previously, all education students from government training institutions were getting automatic recruitment into the system until recently when government put in place a policy that primarily seeks to control the inflow of teachers.
“Government is only trying to bring sanity into the system,” said a senior Ministry of Education official who spoke on condition of anonymity.
He added: “It is laughable that they [students] are demonstrating against this development. One needs to undergo interviews before getting a job. It is normal.”
But according to the petition presented through Mzuzu City CEO Thomas Chirwa, the students argue that the new policy is contradictory since it means that government is not accrediting its own teacher training institutions.
“We would like to remind the Ministry that public universities/colleges operate within the mandate of the Ministry of Education. It therefore, does not make sense that the government should be conducting interviews for education graduates when it is fully aware that they are well qualified. This is a total mockery,” reads the petition in part.
It adds: “Government is spending millions of tax payers’ money to train teachers yet it is failing to employ them. It should not be forgotten that teachers form the core of development in every country. Therefore, failure to put these qualified teachers into their full productive use by the Ministry is a total waste of resources in a developing country like Malawi.”
Speaking on behalf of the students, Patricia Kansewa said that they had written the Ministry of Education (MoE) a few weeks back with a one week ultimatum which was not honored by government.
“They were supposed to respond by the 3rd of October, 2013 but they didn’t,” said Kansewa.
She added: “We are being intellectual enough. We are following all procedure. That’s why you have seen us peacefully marching.”
True to Kansewa’s sentiment, the Friday demonstration was one of the most peaceful demonstrations by Mzuni students who are well-known for violence and foul-mouthing during such occasions.
The students have since given President Banda up to 25th October, 2013 to respond or they will take further steps.Follow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :