Teachers in Malawi down chalk following government failure to pay Covid-19 risk allowances


A deserted Namalimwe Primary School in Ndirande, Blantyre.

MZUZU (MalawiTalk) – Learners in some schools run amok this Tuesday morning in reaction to teachers strike in public schools which resumed this morning to force the government pay them Covid-19 risk allowance as well as better protective equipment.

In Mzuzu, the learners battled with the police who used violence to bar the learners from protesting.

The students were later allowed to present their petition to the district education manager.

Meanwhile, stakeholders in the education sector have cautioned government on the ongoing stay away by teachers saying it amounts to violation of people’s rights to education.

The warning has come at a time public sector teachers are boycotting work in a bid to force government  to meet their demands for high-risk pay and better safety equipment.

However,  Mr Benedicto Kondowe, an education rights campaigner has urged government to address concerns being raised by the teachers.

Kondowe observed that the failure by government to resolve the matter is breaching the right to education of children.

Meanwhile, an umbrella body for trade unions in the country has asked government to identify an arbitrator to mediate over the industrial stand-off.

Mr Denis Kalekeni, Secretary General of Malawi Congress of Trade Unions has made suggestion weeks after the two sides failed to resolve their differences.

Kalekeni says engagement of a third-party would create some sense of neutrality in resolving the matter.

The striking teachers say working during the pandemic puts them at risk.

A deserted Namalimwe Primary School in Ndirande, Blantyre.

Mr Willy Malimba, president of Teachers Union of Malawi, said personal protective equipment like face coverings, sanitizers and soap are inadequate in many schools.

Malimba said they will only call off the strike if teachers and TTC lecturers are provided with PPEs in cash-costed package as a once-off payment covering three months.

Government authorities previously argued that adequate precautions were being taken.

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