Ministry of Education has revised upwards hardship allowances from K10 000 to K25 000 for teachers in hard-to-reach areas and to K15 000 for teachers in semi-hard to reach areas.
Minister of Education Agnes NyaLonje said this on Thursday in Lilongwe during the Teachers Union of Malawi (TUM) 23rd General Congress.
She said the revised allowances will be rolled out from next academic year and will be attached to the school not to individual salaries.
NyaLonje said: “We have done this to promote teacher retention in rural schools as we pursue equal and quality education. We have noted with sadness that many teachers shun rural schools. So, we want those who accept to benefit from this.”
TUM secretary general Charles Kumchenga welcomed the development but also asked the ministry to discipline some district education managers (DEMs) he said are abusive.
He said: “Some DEMs ill-treat teachers they are supposed to be managing and this is a demotivating factor. We have their names and we can share with you if you want.”
Kumchenga also said teachers poor working conditions and the environment they operate in are demotivating; hence, need to be addressed urgently.
“We talk of teachers’ promotions, the condition of houses they stay in, the school infrastructure, unpaid salary arrears and many other challenges that teachers are subjected to,” he said.
NyaLonje said government is already working on some of the challenges raised by TUM.
She also urged the union to trust and work with the ministry through consultation and engagement at different levels to improve the education sector.
Her remarks follow a previous disagreement between the ministry and TUM over teachers’ Covid-19 risk allowances which resulted in teachers staging a strike which lasted over five weeks.
The strike was later listed as among factors which led to the poor results for the 2019/2020 Malawi Schools Certificate of Education examinations.
Meanwhile, the Southern Africa Teachers Organisation (Sato) has commended TUM for being bold in calling for the welfare of teachers in Malawi.
The congress was held under the theme “Join hands in motivating and protecting teachers for quality education.”