By Isaac Salima:
Some of the teachers who are marking Junior Certificate of Education (JCE) examinations papers at the University of Malawi, formerly Chancellor College (Chanco), campus in Zomba have decried the financial package they are getting for marking the papers.
They further lament poor working conditions at the facility.
One of the teachers, who declined to be identified for fear of reprisals, said morale was low among the markers.
“Apart from poor conditions at the facility, we work long hours. We start marking at around 3am and go to sleep around 11pm. This may affect quality of our work because we are being forced to work long hours to meet set targets. We just started work and did not sign anywhere, hence the conditions have caught us unawares,” the exam marker said.
Another teacher faulted the marking rate, describing monies they are getting as a pittance.
“For instance, those marking mathematics paper are being paid K75 per paper; as such, you can imagine how much work one needs to put in to at least get something at the end of the day,” the source said.
He further complained of poor accommodation and food at the campus.
However, Malawi National Examinations Board (Maneb) spokesperson Mayamiko Chiwaya said they had not received an official complaint on the issue.
“The marking rates are in tandem with the difficulty of the paper and in line with the marking fees for the other levels of examinations. On the issue of poor accommodation, we do not have our own marking facilities and, so, we use hired ones and, for JCE marking, it was only at Chanco where we found space which could take in all our markers,” Chiwaya said.
She urged the markers to take such concerns to centre coordinators.
Meanwhile, quality education advocate Benedicto Kondowe has urged Maneb and the markers to prioritise the signing of contracts.
“The teachers were supposed to know the conditions under which they would work. This is a noble cause for the country and, in future, Maneb should provide details so that the markers can make an informed decision,” Kondowe said.