LILONGWE-(MaraviPost)-Teacher Union of Malawi (TUM) on Friday slammed auditors who have been assigned to verify salaries arrears in district councils over their tendencies of demanding allowances before work.
The demand for allowances has delayed the process of accounts verification as some councils are unable to meet the auditors demands.
This is happening despite the auditors getting fully monthly payment from government; meaning, they are getting two salaries.
TUM Secretary General Charles Kumchenga told the news conference in the capital Lilongwe during the commemoration of 2018 World Teachers Day which falls on October 5 saying teachers are still suffering due to salary arrears delays.
The presser which TUM and its partners; Action Aid and Civil Society Education Coalition (CSEC) held aimed at advocating for increased access to quality CPDs for teachers and among others.
Kumchenga wondered why auditors continue to demand allowance when all in all get monthly salaries for the same work.
“This is unacceptable that auditors be demanding allowance when government given them monthly payment. This has delayed the verification process as some councils are unable to meet the demand.
“We are therefore urging government to work with urgency on this matter as the salary arrears is a long time standing issue,” urges Kumchenga.
CSEC’s programs officer Kissa Kumwenda also urged government to provide adequate resources in public primary and secondary schools to achieve Sustainable Development Goal 4.
Echoing on the same Yandula Chipeta of Action Aid demanded proper tax justice that serves the poor amid insufficient of resources to run public schools in Malawi.
TEACHERS’ ISSUES AND THEIR PROPOSED SOLUTIONS TO BE PRESENTED TO THE PRESS FOR 2018 WORLD TEACHERS’ DAY PRESS BRIEFING
- Salary Arrears
- When TUM organized an industrial action on the matter in July, the government persuaded TUM not to take such action promising to settle all outstanding arrears as soon as possible. But up until now, some teachers have still not received their salary arrears.
- The newly recruited teachers (10,000 IPTE 10-1 and ODL5 primary school teachers and 1,200 secondary school teachers) have also accrued arrears making the situation even worse
- A lot of teachers have stayed on one grade for long (some over 20 years)
- Promotion of teachers in the country done almost in 2013, five years ago.
- When eventually promoted, it takes time for the teachers’ salary to be adjusted accordingly.
- Self-upgraded teachers
- Over 700 teachers have upgraded themselves to Diploma and Degree holders but their new qualifications are not being recognized by the government.
- Some of these were even trained by the same government that is ignoring them now
- With their new qualification, some are supposed to be teaching in TTCs and some in secondary schools but most are still teaching in primary schools
- Some have started teaching in CDSSs but are still getting primary school salaries
- Shortage of teachers’ Houses
- Teachers in the country still living in dilapidated houses due to shortage of decent teacher houses in schools especially in rural areas
- As a result, teachers are forced to rent houses which makes cost of living high for them on their already inadequate salaries
- And for those in rural areas, houses for rent are usually found at long distances increasing the probability of a teacher being late for his/her duties. Thereby negatively affecting leaners’ right to education.
- Rural Allowance
- Rural allowance system having several discrepancies, making it not serve its intended purpose of attracting teachers to the rural areas and retaining them.
- Some teachers who teach in schools that qualify as hard to reach areas are not getting the allowance
- Without a strong monitoring system, when teachers transfer from these hard to reach areas, they still continue getting the allowance
- In some cases, two schools- a primary and a secondary school- adjacent to each other, teachers in the primary schools get the allowance but those teaching at the secondary school are not getting.
- Access to Continuous Professional Development
- Some teachers have been in the service for a long time without access to CPD
- The curricula have been changing without teachers being properly trained in the new ones yet expected to effectively deliver
- In teacher colleges, teachers trained on how to handle 60 leaners (as is the ideal ratio) yet reality on the ground has teachers handling up to 150 leaners at a time
- Teachers handling leaners with special needs without being properly trained on the same
- In short, the demands being placed on teachers are always changing yet teachers are rarely trained to respond to these changes.
- Salary arrears
- Government should audit all teachers’ files by 31st October 2018 and pay accordingly.
- Since one of the reason delaying the settlement of these arrears is lack of adequate auditing personnel, government should increase its workforce to speed up the process
- When teacher have been deployed, government should ensure they are inserted on the payroll the same month to avoid accruing arrears
- Government should have a systematic method of identifying and resolving teacher arrears without pressure from the Teachers Union of Malawi.
- Government should have a deliberate policy in place on the when, how and who for promoting teachers so that it should be impossible for a teacher to serve at one grade for as long as 20 years
- When promoting teachers, government should also consider the teachers’ actual performance at school level and not merely relying on the individual’s performance during interviews (substantive promotion)
- Personal to holder promotion should be inserted
- When promoted, salaries should be adjusted the same month the promotion has been infected.
- Self-upgraded teachers
- Government should ensure every teacher is working in institution matching his/her qualification
- Salaries of these self-upgraded teachers must upgraded accordingly
- Promotion for these individuals must be automatic without asking them to go through interviews first
- Shortage of teacher houses
- Government should ensure that each school has ‘enough’ teacher houses
- Government and donor partners should prioritize the construction of teacher houses
- Communities must also be encouraged to take part in constructing teacher houses
- Teacher houses that are in poor conditions must be rehabilitated or refurbished
- Hard to reach area allowance
- The package should be adjusted from MK10,000 to make it more attractive so it can serve its intended purpose.
- Areas should be categorized on how hard they are to reach and the packages should reflect this categorization
- All teachers who qualify to benefit for this scheme should do so
- Its monitoring system should be strengthened so that only teachers that need to be benefiting from the scheme are benefiting
- Access to CPD
- Teachers should have CPD frequently and adequately and whenever need arises
- The trainers for the CPDs should be individuals who are qualified and well experienced
- The chain of training (i.e from the ministry to the DEM to the PEA to key teachers to teachers) should be shortened to minimize the risk of missing information
- CPDs should be conducted with enough resources e.g books and finances so that teachers are motivated during the CPD.