Primary school students block a road protesting closure of schools due to teachers’ ongoing sit-in

Public primary school students in Blantyre on Monday, spilled to streets, protesting against the closure of schools due to the ongoing teachers’ sit-in.

Chanting “we need to go to classes,” the pupils in Balaka, Blantyre, and primary schools, are blocking some roads with big rocks, and by burning things. They say they will hold a vigil at the District Education Manager (DEM) office.

“We are tired of being at home, we want to go back to classes. Our plan is to seek Government’s intervention on the matter. We shall be staying at the DEM’s office, till teachers go to classes,” said some of the pupils in an interview.

In the central region, angry students and parents blocked the M1 Road just after Salima turn off towards Ntcheu; they are demanding K1,000.00 per vehicle to pay their teachers.

A US-based diaspora reports that while on her way to the airport in Blantyre at HHI, students are rioting against Police. She was driving to Chileka International Airport, but had to quickly make a U-turn because the students are throwing stones in the one hand, and Police are using teargas.

The students denied to have been sent by someone; they said “this is our plan; no one is behind this.”

There is fear that the student uprising may turn escalate into widespread violence, if the situation is not controlled.

The police action of throwing tear gases is to dispense the learners.

In Salima the protesting students are demanding K1000 from motorists to use in paying their teachers’ leave grants.

Meanwhile, teachers through their organization, Teachers Union of Malawi (TUM), said their nationwide strike, which started last week, will continue until the end of the third term of the academic calendar, which is in July. This will be the case unless Government pays all teachers their leave grants.

According to TUM President Willie Malimba, parents and Government should not expect teachers in public primary and secondary to go back to school soon.

“If Government keeps on changing its tune or failing to meet with us to map the way forward, classes will not resume,” he said.

Opposition members of Parliament express concern that the strike may affect form four students, who are expected to write their Malawi School Certificate of Education (MSCE) examinations starting at the end of this month.

Minister of Finance, Economic Planning and Development Goodall Gondwe, last week told the House that, despite the process to pay teachers takes longer than expected, things will be finalised by Monday (today).

He assured the members that his ministry will transfer funds to the councils for the teachers today, but some District Commissioners told the Maravi Post that they have not received any payments from the Ministry of Finance.

The Malawi US-based diaspora said Malawi needs prayers.

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