Primary school teachers from Blantyre Rural on Monday camped at the offices of their district education manager (DEM) demanding an explanation on why they are not receiving hardship allowances meant for rural-based teachers.
The teachers, mostly from Lunzu, Ngumbe, Nansengwe and Ntenjera primary schools in the Lunzu Zone, said they will not return to class until their grievances are sorted.
The Ministry of Education, Science and Technology has acknowledged the problems surrounding rural allowances, saying the issue is being worked out.
During random interviews at the Blantyre DEM offices, the teachers said they were surprised that some of their colleagues at the same schools were receiving the allowances.
In some cases, one teacher was getting the allowance while the other also teaching the same class was not, according to the teachers.
The ministry’s spokesperson Rebecca Phwitiko said yesterday they are aware of the matter.
“We are getting requests and concerns along those lines from across the country and as a ministry, we are reviewing the eligibility [of the teachers] and once that is done, the information will be made available to the schools in question,” said Phwitiko.
Government introduced rural allowances in 2010 as an incentive to motivate and encourage teachers to work in rural areas where there was a shortage of teachers.
Initially, the monthly allowance was pegged at K5 000 (about $12.50) but has been raised to K10 000 (about $25) effective January this year.