Teachers invigilating the Malawi School Certificate of Education (MSCE) examinations should brace for tough times during the exercise following a Malawi National Examinations Board (Maneb) announcement that it has no money for allowances.
In a letter dated June 20 2017 addressed to district education managers (DEMs) and officers in charge, which The Nation has seen, Maneb acting executive director Jack Chalimba asked the DEMs to plead with teachers to invigilate the examinations and that allowances will be paid when funding is available.
“We have no funds now to enable us pay allowances. We expect that administrators of the 2017 MSCE will continue to carry out their tasks..,” reads the letter in part.
Speaking in an interview yesterday, Maneb spokesperson Simeon Maganga attributed the problem to poor funding.
He said as Maneb, they depend on monthly subventions from Treasury as it is a non-profit making institution.
He further said for the MSCE examinations alone, they require K1 billion to pay invigilators. However, they cannot raise the sum as the examination fees students pay only cater for 20 percent of the budget.
“People may think we lack proper planning, but they are entitled to their opinion. What they should know is that in the past, we used to pay the teachers a standard allowance, for example, K10 000 a day each, but we changed the system in 2015 and started paying them according to their entitlements.
“This inflated our budget to the extent that we had a deficit as some are being paid K25 000 a day or more,” he said, adding that Treasury has assured the board that the money will be paid by July 1.
Maganga, however, said all 2017 Standard Eight invigilators have been paid their allowances.
Meanwhile, Teachers Union of Malawi (TUM) has said teachers who have committed to go and invigilate the ongoing MSCE are doing so at their own risk.
In an interview yesterday, TUM president Willie Malimba said the teachers need to set standards for themselves before committing to national duties which require them to have allowances before doing any work.
Last year, TUM threatened not to render invigilation services this year if teachers will not be given allowances in advance.
This followed failure by Maneb to provide allowances for teachers in time. n