Malawi government’s negligence on education irks experts

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Civil Society Education Coalition (CSEC) executive director Benedicto Kondowe has expressed anger with President Peter Mutharika’s administration due to its lack of seriousness in ending the education crisis that has rocked the country.

Kondowe’s anger comes amidst a lot of challenges that have engulfed Malawi’s education sector, from primary schools up to tertiary institutions.

At this moment, students from all public primary and secondary schools are not learning because of the ongoing teachers’ strike which started last week that aims at forcing government to pay them their leave grants.

Benedeicto Kondowe

Kondowe: These trends are not good at all.

Besides, Chancellor College which is a constituent college of the University of Malawi (UNIMA) has been closed for six months as lecturers are on strike demanding government to increase their salaries to match with those lecturing in other institutions under UNIMA.

According to Kondowe, if government will not address these issues as soon as possible demonstrations will be held.

He has also urged the speaker to adjourn parliamentary meetings until the chaos in the education sector are resolved.

“We believe that government is aware of the anger that parents have and we can urge them (parents) that we should stage demonstrations in order to tell the government our concerns.

“Parliament has got powers of adjourning the deliberations until things such as these are solved so we will ask the Speaker to stop the current sitting,” Kondowe said.

Responding to the issues concerning leave grants, minister of information Nicholas Dausi urged the teachers to be patient since authorities are doing all they can to process the payments.

“In conjunction with district councils we are doing everything possible to pay them these leave grants and we are just asking for patience from the teachers,” he told taxpayer funded Malawi Broadcasting Corporation.

On Monday and Tuesday, primary school learners from some schools in Blantyre closed the M1 while chanting anti-government songs.

The students want government to pay their teachers so that they should resume classes as the pupils are remaining with a few weeks before they take their final examinations of the 2016/2017 academic year.

However, during the demonstrations on Monday the learners were dispersed by heavily armed police officers who teargassed them.

On Tuesday afternoon, there was also commotion in the Parliament as opposition legislators took government to task over the closure of Chancellor College.

Leader of opposition Lazarus Chakwera told government that the schools needs to be opened and if they are failing to resolve the matter they should invite members of opposition to resolve it.

Meanwhile, some Members of Parliament have told Education Minister Emmanuel Fabiano to step down from his position since he has failed completely in resolving matters that have rocked his ministry.

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