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Teachers’ strike to affect over 400, 000 candidates

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The nationwide teachers’ strike, planned for May 9 if teachers’ concerns are not addressed, will affect about 420,000 candidates that are expected to sit for Maneb examinations.

Teachers Union of Malawi (Tum) has threatened that teachers will sit-in due to unresolved issues.

The Daily Times inquiry at the Malawi National Examinations Board (Maneb) indicates that 400,000 plus candidates who will be sitting for Maneb examinations at all levels will be affected if the teachers indeed go on strike.

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The standard eight examinations start on May 11 to 13, two days after the strike, Junior Certificate Examinations start on May 21 to June 10 while Malawi School Certificate of Education examinations start on June 22 to July, 20 2016.

“As of now we don’t have the actual numbers because we sent back the names of the candidates to their schools for verification, we gave them a deadline of this week and I am sure that by next week schools will be coming back to us and we will have the actual number of candidates sitting for examinations this year. All I can give you now are approximate figures based on candidates sitting for the exams in the previous years,” said Simeon Maganga who is Maneb’s spokesperson.

Tum General Secretary Dennis Kalekeni in an interview yesterday said it is just a coincidence that the strike has been scheduled at the same time candidates will be sitting for the examinations.

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“So are you saying that teachers should continue suffering because of the examinations? Is that what you are trying to tell me?… it is just a coincidence probably, we did not have that in mind that there are examinations coming, all we are thinking of is that teachers have been oppressed for a long time and therefore there is need for an employer [government] just to wakeup and provide the relief,” said Kalekeni.

He added that as a union they are not comfortable to be talking of the strike rather they would want Ministry of Education to respond to their concerns.

“If government was willing to address us in a good time, we would automatically call off our strike and continue teaching, I would like to emphasise that the first document that we sent to the Ministry of Education contains 24 challenges which teachers are facing … but we have been kind enough only to single out issues that are obvious that have stayed in the system because of the negligence by the Ministry of Education,” said Kalekeni.

Minister of Education Emmanuel Fabiano told The Daily Times on Wednesday that they are meeting with the teachers to map the way forward.

Education activist Benedicto Kondowe while saying that government does not care for the welfare of the teachers in the country also faulted both parties for failing to resolve their differences.

“It is unfortunate that they are unable to resolve some of their outstanding issues because matters to do with leave grants and promotions have been there for a while. I am conscious that the timing for the strike is wrong considering that learners will be starting national examinations,” he said.

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