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Student teachers go 3 months without pay

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Over 4,000 students in teacher training colleges (TTC) across the country are yet to receive their K20, 000 monthly allowances, even after doing teaching practices for over three months, The Daily Times has learned.

The students are assigned to different schools to ‘work’ as student teachers, as required during this term of their academic calendar.

One of the student teachers, Cornelius Mwalure from Blantyre TTC, who is teaching at Chilandepa Primary School, Lunzu, in the same district said the students went to the field on March 22 this year but they are yet to get paid.

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“The underlining condition was that we shall be entitled to a training allowance amounting to K20,000 per month during teaching practices. Our college authorities told us that they had done the necessary submissions of our data but, when we tried to get information from the ministry responsible [Ministry of Education], it seems nothing positive is happening.

“When we tried to talk to the Ministry of Finance, we were told that those responsible for making the payments had been arrested,” he said.

When contacted, principal for the college Stanely Kwerenge said he could not speak on the matter as it is an issue being handled by the Ministry of Education.

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Ministry of Education spokesperson Chikondi Chimala attributed the delay to processes at the office of the Accountant General (AG).

“The ministry is committed to supporting all teachers who are doing teaching practice. To this effect, all internal processes to pay what is due to them were done and duly submitted to the Accountant General’s office for payment.

“We are, therefore, sure that they will be paid accordingly by the AG’s office as submitted,” he said.

Chimala could not specify the number of students that are entitled to the allowances.

However, a statement issued by the Ministry of Education in 2021, announcing names of candidates who had been selected to undergo a two-year training programme, indicated that 4,504 had been selected.

Ministry of Finance spokesperson Taurai Samuel Banda was not readily available for a comment.

It was recently reported that some accountants at the AG’s office had been arrested for allegedly conniving with accountants from government agencies to siphon money from Account Number One through allowances.

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