By Imam Wali:
Education activists have condemned Ministry of Education officials for conducting teachers’ promotion interviews at an open ground at Dedza Football Stadium in Dedza District.
About 2,600 primary school teachers were invited to attend aptitude tests for their possible promotion to grades H, I and K.
However, the interviews were conducted in a football stadium.
Thousands of teachers were seen scattered at the football ground, purportedly taking aptitude test examinations.
One of the education activists in the country Steve Sharra said the image being portrayed was that of perennial denigration and indignity of teachers and the teaching profession in Malawi.
“It would be prudent to hear from the side of the ministry about what happened and why. Until we hear their side, this does not look good. I hope we will get an explanation,” he said.
Civil Society Education Coalition Chairperson Benedicto Kondowe faulted Ministry of Education officials, saying the environment the teachers was subjected to was demeaning and not befitting the standards of the teachers’ noble profession.
“This is unacceptable, unusual and just shows that the government was not ready for the interviews. Last time, due to poor preparations on the part of the ministry, we had a stampede and, so, this manifested failure to learn from the past,” he said.
In an interview with The Daily Times, Dedza Chief Education Officer Julius Kamwaza said the teachers opted to be interviewed as one group as opposed to smaller groups because they wanted to finish in good time.
“The teachers were asked to do written interviews in small groups but they refused. Most of them indicated that they had covered a long distance and wanted to finish sitting the examinations in good time,” he said.
He said interviews for teachers started Tuesday.
“Indeed we, as an education office, are having interviews, which started Tuesday. We would want our teachers to get promoted after we get blessings from the National Local Governing Council,” Kamwaza said.
Ministry of Education spokesperson Chikondi Chimala said the interviews were being conducted by the Local Government Service Commission under the Ministry of Local Government and district councils.
“Recruitment, promotions and transfers of primary school teachers are the responsibility of individual councils under Local Government,” Chimala said.