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Teachers in private schools demand better conditions

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Teachers in private schools have demanded better working conditions and cautioned school directors and proprietors to stop focusing on profits only.

Private Schools Employees Union of Malawi (PSEUM) General Secretary, Falison Lemani, said this on Saturday in Lilongwe during the commemoration of Teachers Day under the theme: “Valuing Teachers by Improving Their Status.”

“We urge school directors, our employers to value our work and reward it accordingly. They should not just focus on getting profits. Teachers are role models but how can pupils aspire to become teachers if they see us wearing worn-out shoes? Pupils become demoralised,” Lemani said.

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He said it was high time policy makers changed their attitude towards teachers and came up with policies that ensure better working conditions for teachers in the country. He also urged school owners to allow their teachers to join trade unions.

He said the union decided to commemorate the day because “there has never been seriousness in the country to celebrate the day.”

Chairperson for Central West Education Division for Private Schools, Huxley Kamkwamba, who is also a director of a school, admitted that conditions in some private schools are pathetic. He cited poor salaries, no allowances when teachers are travelling on official duties, little or no leave grants as some of the thorny issues.

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“The concerns raised are genuine. Teachers are living below the minimum expected life. The sooner the directors listen to these cries, the better.”

“Directors should not just focus on the business aspect but building the nation. They should consider the effort employees put in their business,” Kamkwamba said.

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