Wednesday, February 28

250 Teachers Threatens Vigils At Capital Hill

It’s unacceptable and irresponsible—CSEC
We will respond when we have facts–Ministry

The last straw! Pressure could be mounting on government as at least 250 disgruntled secondary school teachers have agreed to storm Capital Hill offices in Lilongwe for vigils this month-end if authorities fail to start paying them their new salaries following their promotion in March this year; The Radar has established.

Most of the teachers’ new grades range from L to I and our calculations show that each teacher is owed K105 000 monthly arrears.

This means, for the past two months, government owes the 250 promoted teachers at least K52 million. But the figure might jump to over K78 million if authorities do not begin addressing the issue this month-end.

The Radar is in possession of a petition the teachers have delivered to the Human Resources Management Office in the Ministry of Education to seriously consider their welfare; arguing they are struggling due to high cost of living in their newly deployed places.

“We therefore ask your office to consider us on the issue so that we start enjoying the fruits of our sweat and further continue to render our services in uplifting the education sector as has been the case in the past years we have been serving the ministry. It is our sincere hope that your office will hear our concerns and assist us accordingly,” reads the petition, dated 3 July 2023.

One of the concerned teachers, Isaac Kapito claims they tried in vain to engage Human Resource Officers in all the six education divisions.

“So we are demanding the ministry and Teaching Service Commission to hasten all remaining processes so that we get new salaries this very month-end including all arrears for the past two months.

“Failing which, we are to conduct vigils at the Ministry of Education this month-end if we notice no salary adjustments. We will also write the Ministry of Education and the State President on the matter,” says Kapito.

He discloses that some of them even got loans from banks for their tuition fees to upgrade themselves to get degrees and earn the promotion but are still getting peanuts.

He adds: “We feel betrayed as this is the system for the Ministry of Education unlike other ministries. Perhaps our ministry is full of unkind, incompetent and old officers who sleep on duty.”

Ministry of Education spokesperson, Mphatso Nkuonera is yet to respond to our questionnaire which among others seeks to establish if the ministry is aware of the teachers’ concerns and what it is doing about the matter.

“We will comment on this important matter whenever facts are available. Meanwhile, my office is consulting on the same. Thank you for connecting, we remain yours in service,” says Nkuonera in a brief written response.

The concerned teachers are surprised why they are receiving such a harsh treatment when 339 newly recruited secondary school teachers whose names the Ministry of Education included in the 10th March 2023 circular have been receiving their new salaries.

But in his reaction, Civil Society Education Coalition-CSEC Executive Director, Benedicto Kondowe says it is unacceptable and irresponsible for government to promote teachers and deprive them from having their entitlements.

“This offends Section 31{1} of the Constitution of Malawi and other labour laws that safeguard the right to fair and safe labour practices and to fair remuneration.

“In particular, Section 3 entitles every person to fair wages and equal remuneration of work of equal value without distinction or discrimination of any kind. Therefore, by promoting the teachers to higher grades without paying them what they are entitled to without justifiable grounds constitute to unfair labour practices as well as discrimination,” says Kondowe.

Kondowe further argues this shows poor planning and leadership failure. He says this means “the decision to promote the teachers does not precede financial planning to avoid unwarranted and distressful situation that the concerned teachers are finding themselves in.”

He has since called on responsible authorities to expeditiously pay the teachers and uphold their entitlement; stressing consistent demotivation of these teachers has far-reaching consequences on learners.

TheRadar #TruthUncensored

Picture shows Kapito, Nkuonera and Kondowe respectively

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