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Isama increases bailout demand

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The Independent Schools Association of Malawi (Isama) has said its demand for a bailout from the government in the wake of Covid-19 has risen to K5.7 billion from the initial K3.8 billion.

Isama President Joseph Patel said Monday that following the abrupt closure of schools in March this year, private schools have struggled to pay teachers because they do not have funds which normally come from school fees.

Patel said Malawi has about 850 independent primary schools and 680 independent secondary schools and that each primary school needs a minimum of K1 million to pay salaries per month while a secondary school requires a minimum of K1.5 million per month.

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He said all the schools put together require about K1.9 billion to pay the teachers per month.

According to Patel, the schools have been inactive from March to May 2020 hence the K5.7 billion bailout demand.

“We are happy that our request for a bailout appears to be receiving the necessary attention because the Ministry of Education has forwarded the request to the Presidential Task Force on Covid-19 which started meeting last week. We are hopeful that the request will yield favourable results,” Patel said.

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He added that Isama is encouraged to hear that the government has provided K128 million allowances for students who are stranded abroad, saying his association expects the private schools to be next in line.

Co-Chairperson of the Presidential Task Force on Covid-19, John Phuka, Monday said they are aware of the challenges private schools are facing in the wake of the pandemic.

Phuka said the Ministry of Education has formed a committee which will look at various challenges in the education sector, including the request by Isama.

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