Chanco remains closed since December 2016 following lecturers’ strike

LILONGWE-(MaraviPost)- The country’s Civil Society Education Coalition (CSEC), which is an alliance of 82 local and international organizations, with partners in education sector, on Tuesday asked President Peter Muthalika to exercise prerogative powers to resolve the current primary teachers’ and the Chancellor College lecturers strikes.

The CSEC’s call comes amid the response from Education Minister Emmanuel Fabiano, and President Mutharika, who are pushing the matter to University of Malawi (UNIMA) Council and Finance Ministry as the responsible departments on the two strikes.

The CSEC said the current education impasse is regrettable, and that it will lead to examination malpractice, corruption and other social vices in the society.

Addressing a news conference in the capital Lilongwe, CSEC Executive Director Benedicto Kondowe, asked Mutharika to use the constitutional powers to move institutions including the UNIMA Council, in the best interest of Malawi and its people.

Kondowe said the President’s prerogative powers to dissolve the University Council if such proves to be failures on the matter, then the new team can be recruited to resolve the challenges.

When asked whether Muthalika will succumb to that call, considering that past Chanco academic strikes, Council failed to take action, Kondowe said Mutharika holds the highest post in the land and he does not always have to be reminded on what to do for serious issues affecting the nation.

“It is evident that the Chancellor College saga is slowly but manifestly degenerating into another crisis, since the college has been closed for six months.

“While we recognize the roles of different institutions in democracy, we implore that enough is enough, and that the college must be opened immediately. If neither the UNIMA Council nor Chancellor College Management can move, the President has the constitutional power to move institutions in the best interest of Malawians and the national at large,” Kondowe said.

One of the concerned parents at Chanco, Paul Chikwekwe shared the same sentiments that Muthalika was now the last man standing on the matter, after all avenues to resolve the matter yielded no positive results.

Chikwekwe said as a parent, the impasse has derailed the university’s reputation, with students are now idle at their homes.

Even, the budget session of Parliament that is currently in session in the capital Lilongwe, on Monday nearly developed into pandemonium, after the main Malawi Congress Party (MCP) Member of Parliament (MP) for Salima North-West Jessie Kabwira, moved a motion to curtain the day’s deliberation to pave the away for Government to address the teachers’ nationwide strikes with urgency.

MP Kabwira went further and asked Minister of Education Emmanuel Fabiano to resign for being accused of gross of incompetence and ineptitude in handling the teachers’ woes and the labor disputes at Chancellor College, a constituent of University of Malawi. Lecturers have been on strike for over half a year.

Kabwira, who stood to contribute on 2017/2018 National budget statement presented in the House by Finance Minister Godall Gondwe last month, accused Minister Fabiano for being inept and relaxed in the chamber, when the country was rearing from the effects of the teachers’ strike.

She was contributing after reports reached Parliament that public primary school students in Blantyre, Salima, and Balaka, had spilled into streets, protesting against the closure of schools due to the ongoing teachers’ strike.

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