Primary school teachers in the country have maintained their demand for Covid-19 risk allowance and have since downed their tools until government addresses their concerns.
Government reopened schools on Monday after a five-week suspension due to a surge in Covid-19 cases, but learners who reported for school were told to go back to their respective homes by their teachers.
The teachers have maintained their stand despite government asking them to call off the strike, claiming that steps were being taken to respond to their demand.
Nyasa Times visited a number of schools in Blantyre including Catholic Institute (CI), Chitawira, Manja and Chimwankhunda, where learners were duly told that teachers are on strike and lessons will resume once government meets their request.
According to Teachers Union of Malawi (TUM) president, Willy Malimba, teachers will call off the strike once government “brings to the table something tangible” and not lip service.
“Teachers have started the strike as planned. Teachers feel thats the only way government officials can be moved to address their request for Covid-19 risk allowance,” said Malimba
However, spokesperson for Ministry of Education Chikondi Chimala said the ministry forwarded teachers’ request to the Presidential Taskforce on Covid-19, which facilitates and handles all issues to do with Covid-19 funds—including risk allowances.
“The issue of Covid-19 risk allowances is guided by the Presidential Taskforce on Covid-19. Last year when doctors, nurses and prison warders were demanding for risk allowance, it’s the Presidential taskforce, after carefully looking into their demands, made the decision to start giving the risk allowances.
“The decision was not made by any government department of ministry, but the taskforce. We have, therefore, submitted TUM’s request to the Presidential Taskforce on Covid-19 and we hope the members will look into teachers’ request as well,” said Chimala.
He further stated that efforts are being made to ensure that schools are a safe environment for learning and teaching in the wake of Covid 19 Pandemic.
Chimala also claimed that government has made available personal protective equipment to all secondary teachers.Follow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :