At least 1,225 auxiliary teachers from Initial Primary Teachers Education (IPTE) 13 cohort have asked the government to consider revising the auxiliary recruitment approach for teachers, arguing it is another form of exploitation.
The query comes at a time the government has, through the Malawi Education Reform Programme, given temporary contracts to 4,125 auxiliary teachers drawn from IPTE cohort 13 and those who are part of IPTE cohort 14.
One of the teachers, Nelson Thomas, whose contract has been revised for the third time now, said working as an auxiliary teacher erodes motivation.
Thomas added that the money they are receiving, pegged at K85,000, is way too little to sustain their lives, considering the high cost of living, especially after devaluation
This year, the Reserve Bank of Malawi announced that the Kwacha had been devalued by 25 percent.
“Our great concern is that we have been working as auxiliary teachers for quite a long time. So, we are appealing to the government to, through the Ministry of Education, consider recruiting us on permanent basis,” he said.
He said working as an auxiliary teacher has a lot of setbacks, including that they are sometimes sidelined from other activities at their respective schools.
Weighing in, Teachers Union of Malawi General Secretary Charles Kumchenga said auxiliary teachers’ needs are not well taken care of.
He said the government should work hard and mobilise resources for the recruitment of teachers on permanent basis.
Kumchenga further said the money the temporary teachers are getting monthly is not enough, such that it has to be revised.
“We know, for sure, that, when we are talking about auxiliary teachers, we are talking about people who rely on donor funding; it is not taxpayers’ money.
“However, our request is that the government should be steadfast in resource mobilisation because these teachers need to be hired permanently. Working on temporary basis for a long time is worrying and we, as Tum, have been lobbying the government through various meetings to hire these teachers permanently,” he said.
Ministry of Education spokesperson Chikondi Chimala said he could not immediately comment on the issue.
The recruitment of the teachers is being done through a $210 million facility from the World Bank for the implementation of infrastructure projects and services in the education sector.
Malawi has about 77,929 primary school teachers, with a deficit of over 62,000 teachers.
Recently, Secretary for Education Chikondano Mussa signed a statement in which the ministry announced that it would employ auxiliary teachers.