For just one reason, Sheikh Jean-Philippe LePoisson, SC(RTD), Mzee Native Authority Mandela, Abiti Joyce Befu, MG 66, and I, the Mohashoi, are here in Cashgate City, the city the Malawi Congress Party (MCP) built and proudly called the Capital City of the Federal Republic of Malawi, our fatherland; our motherland.
We are here to marshal the energies of all sensible CBOs, non-governmental individuals (NGIs) such as Billy wa Muyaya, Gift Two Pence, Billy’s Band, and Timothy Cloud, relevant UN departments, and all representatives of foreign countries present here in father Malawi to join us in protesting the denigration or ‘cow-dungification’ of primary school and Early Childhood Development (ECD) teachers. On Monday next week, we will march to the Ministry of Education headquarters at Capital Hill and meet the minister, deputy the minister and directors directly concerned with primary school and ECD education.
Take note that we will not apply for permission to march because no law in this federal republic stops anyone or any group of individuals from marching. Inform the Police? The police and others will not be required because we are ready to defend ourselves and we don’t have money to pay people whose daylight job is to protect us, anyway.
To prepare the ministry of education for the day of reckoning, we ask the following questions in advance:
- The President of Malawi, Moya Professor Dr Peter Arthur (Arthur Peter?) Mutharika, says we ordinary Malawians should work hard, be patriotic and have integrity (umunthu). Primary school teachers work extremely hard and are so patriotic that they even organise pro bono extra learning sessions for students who don’t do well (umunthu praxis). Why then is that these committed civil servants, already miserly paid, are not salaried on time?
- Some primary school teachers, particularly those who went through two year teacher training college education and upgraded themselves to diploma and degree (bachelor and master’s) levels so that they teach in secondary school and beyond, are told to go and do University of Certificate Education (UCE) studies first. What is in the one-year UCE that the two-year TTC Education does not provide? Are TTC graduates not the most qualified teachers?
- Does Secondary school teaching require special methodology or the policy is meant to continue the ‘cow-dungification’ of primary school teachers?
- The Malawi Public/Civil Service Regulations (MPSR) are very clear. A civil servant with an approved college diploma or degree is supposed to occupy a professional grade (PO and above). Why is it that teachers who upgrade themselves to diploma or degree level are being asked to be interviewed to be considered for relocation to new salary scales? Have the MPSR been changed so that teachers are treated like farm animals?
- A primary school teacher who reaches the mandatory retirement age is immediately removed from the payroll. However, why is the same teacher not paid his or her gratuity and pension immediately? There are retired primary school teachers who have not been paid their gratuity for five years after being retired. Why? Why are teachers treated like cow dung? Which laws is the ministry of education using?
See you at Capital Hill next Monday! The Teachers Union of Malawi (TUMA) is free to organise a counter demonstration. We will meet in the streets, as the great Moya Ngwazi Bingu wa Mutharika used to challenge.