President Lazarus Chakwera Tuesday redirected Teachers Union of Malawi (Tum) representatives to the Presidential Taskforce on Covid as the right body to decide on their demands for Covid risk allowances.
Addressing the press after meeting Chakwera, Tum President Willie Malimba said the President indicated that taskforce members would be in a position to respond to the teachers’ concern on allowances.
“Top on the agenda was the issue of risk allowances for teachers. We are waiting for the Presidential Taskforce on Covid’s answer to determine whether we should call off the sit-in, which started on Monday,” Malimba said.
He also indicated that their concerns on the purchase of personal protective equipment for teachers, recruitment of IPTE13 teachers and teachers’ promotion had been addressed.
The President met with Tum leaders barely a day after the officials held a meeting with Ministry of Education (MoE) officials at Bingu International Convention Centre (BICC) in Lilongwe, where they discussed “matters relating to teachers’ welfare amidst the Covid pandemic”, according to a communique which MoE Principal Secretary (Administration) Kiswell Dakamau and Malimba signed after the meeting.
Dakamau and Malimba further indicated that “…the meeting received communication from the Presidential Taskforce that it will meet to deliberate on various issues including the request for risk allowance.
“[The meeting also agreed] that Tum will wait for a response from the taskforce before making a way forward on the withholding of labour by its membership.”
The meeting was held after teachers in public primary and secondary schools embarked on a sit-in on Monday, demanding, among other things, Covid risk allowances.
In a related development, figures which the Presidential Taskforce on Covid has released indicate that the country has registered a sharp decrease in the number of coronavirus-positive people.
Co-chairperson of the taskforce, who is also Health Minister, Khumbize Kandodo Chiponda, said the positivity rate had dropped from around 30 percent in January to 8.1 percent.
Within 24 hours yesterday, 164 new cases were registered, representing 8.1 percent, 185 had recovered, while three people died.
Kandodo Chiponda has, however, encouraged individuals to continue adhering to preventive measures.
“There is a need for all of us to hold hands, continue observing the measures that we have put in place,” said Kandodo Chiponda
Mathews Kasanda is a journalist who holds a Bachelor of Arts in Journalism from University of Malawi (The Polytechnic).
In 2015, Media Institute of Southern Africa awarded him the Best Print Media Education Journalist of the Year accolade.
He joined Times Group Newsroom in September 2019.