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Maneb under fire

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By Faith Kamtambe:

Malawi National Examinations Board (Maneb) has come under fire for coming up with ‘a strict’ policy on the fitness of markers for Primary School Leaving Certificate of Education (PSLCE) and Malawi School Certificate of Education (MSCE) examinations.

Among other things, markers will now be undergoing medical check-ups to establish if they have any chronic illnesses that might affect their work.

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A circular sent to all schools, dated February 12 2019, which The Daily Times has seen, indicates that the decision has been arrived at following increased cases of markers falling sick and dying.

“Maneb, with approval from its Board of Directors, made consultation with the Malawi Human Rights Commission, the Ministry of Labour and other stakeholders to develop a policy on fitness of markers of examinations,” part of the circular reads.

The circular also states that Maneb will now be sending a medical form stipulating the tests to be conducted together with the marking contract agreement form to every marker.

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“A week prior to reporting for marking, he or she will go to a medical or clinical officer at a medical facility for checkup for common ailments and chronicle illnesses and pay for his or her medical examinations,” the circular adds.

But Teachers Union of Malawi (Tum) Secretary General, Charles Kumchenga, has said what Maneb has done is segregation of teachers.

“I think Maneb has come up with an isolation measure of treating teachers. I think, for the first time in the history of Malawi, a body such as Maneb has come up with that suggestion and decision of discriminating people. By saying teachers who are sick should not be marking the examinations, to us it is segregative,” he said.

Kumchenga has urged Maneb to rescind the decision as quickly as possible.

“Let us start with Maneb itself, the body has people who are sick also and those people must be removed from Maneb as well if such a scenario should be applied. The decision must be reversed,” he said.

Civil Society Education Coalition Network Executive Director, Benedicto Kondowe, said Maneb’s demands are unnecessary considering that the same teachers that are being asked to go for medical checkups are the same that deliver on the ground.

Maneb spokesperson, Mayamiko Chiwaya, said they would meet Tum over the matter on Thursday.

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