File Photo: Unima gurus must address disparities

LILONGWE-(MaraviPost)- University of Malawi’s (UNIMA) labor disputes, particularly with Chancellor College, is expected to reach a formidable compromise, following the two parties’ agreement to meet on the matter on Tuesday.

This follows the fruitful discussions President Peter Muthalika had with the Teachers Union of Malawi (TUM), UNIMA Council, academic staff, students and parents at Kamuzu Palace, on Friday.

President Muthalika entered into the foray, after a request from the Parliament and some civil society organizations (CSOs) intervene to resolve the impasse on the two issues involving the education sector.

In a joint news conference in Lilongwe, on Saturday, hosted by Minister of Education Emmanuel Fabiano alongside UNIMA Council and academic staff, the nation was informed that all concerned parties had agreed to meet ?on Tuesday, June 20? to resolve the matter.

Profeddoe Fabiano, himself former Principal of Chancellor College, told reporters that Government will facilitate the talks through a taskforce that was established to resolve the matter.

Fabiano disputed claims that he was incompetent to handle the impasse; he said UNIMA Council, as employer of Chancellor College, was mandated by an Act of Parliament to manage colleges under UNIMA, not the Ministry of Education, Science and Technology.

The Minister reminded Malawians that in time of democratic order, when things do not work, dialogue between concerned parties is the best solution.

“Government is happy now that the two parties have agreed to meet with sober minds; and that the impasse will be resolved, and that our children be back at the College. We need to give dialogue a chance, unlike orders which was what others were advocating.

“We expect that the Tuesday meeting between two parties, will yield the much needed-solutions to the standoff. Government as a parent of the Council and academic staff, will facilitate the talks,” said Fabiano.

Echoing the same, Limbani Nsapato UNIMA Council representative, assured the nation that the slated Tuesday talks were long overdue as both parties were waiting such a forum.

Nsapato said the opening of Chancellor College depends on the meeting’s resolutions on what should be its future.

On his part, academic staff president (CCASU) Anthony Gunde, disclosed that they were going to the talks with calm mind, to address the impasse so that students may be back to school as soon as possible.

Chancellor College was closed in March this year, following disagreements between the UNIMA Council and academic staff over different salary scale structures with the lectures. The lectures demand harmonization of payments to all staff of the same levels or grade across UNIMA colleges.

Meanwhile, the Teachers Union of Malawi (TUM), on Saturday called off the ongoing national-wide strike, after President Mutharika’s intervention that led to Government paying teachers their leave grants in fourteen districts.

Following this development, TUM requested all public primary and secondary school teachers to resume their normal duties starting on Monday June 19.

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