Teachers Union of Malawi expresses dismay over remarks on promotion

The Teachers Union of Malawi (TUM) on Saturday condemned remarks Civil Society Organization (CSOs) and some representatives of political parties made that promotions offered to teachers recently are politically motivated.

The condemnation comes in the wake of a Daily Times front page article on Friday that alleged that the offer ofpromotions might be associated with the campaign by the ruling party.

TUM Secretary General Dennis Kalekeni said the remarks were not only unfortunate, but unfair when considering the welfare of teachers in the country.

TUM Excecutive board members meet with President . Joyce Banda
TUM Excecutive board members meet with President . Joyce Banda

“Teachers in Malawi are the most marginalized group of civil service who do not have any additional sources of income except their salary which in most cases, is also paid late,” Kalekeni said when he addressed journalists at the Central Office of Information in Lilongwe.

He added: “Promotions to teachers therefore mean improved salary to commensurate with their new grade. It must also be reiterated that teachers in Malawi suffer highly in as far as their welfare is concerned.”

Kalekeni said the Malawi government had an obligation to provide a conducive working environment for teachers as well as improving their condition of service.

He said it was surprising and worrisome that while efforts were being made to alleviate teachers’ challenges, some quarters had the audacity to undermine such efforts because of political gains, at the expense of the poor teacher.

“TUM therefore implores all political parties to desist from politicizing the teaching profession as well as associating teachers’ welfare with politics, particularly this time when the campaign has kicked off,” he said.

Kalekeni said instead of accusing government of improving the welfare of teachers, those engaged in political campaigns should concentrate on informing teachers what they would  do if they went into government.

“Teachers are civil servants and they professionally serve the government of the day without fear or favour,” he said.

Kalekeni said TUM was grateful to government in general, and President Dr Joyce Banda in particular for promoting about 16, 000 teachers within a year.

The government employs about 70, 000 primary and secondary school teachers.

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