Sheikh Jean-Philippe LePoisson, SC (RTD), Abiti Joyce Befu, MG 66, AMAI (RTD), Mzee Native Authority Mandela and I, the Mohashoi, have received an avalanche of reactions to last week’s Bottom Up question: Why are teachers treated like cow dung? Here below are some (they have been edited for clarity). We have withheld the commentators’ contacts.
We are not in the tradition of swearing, but listen very carefully. We will not release the contacts of the Bottom Up readers under any circumstance unless the Access to (public) Information (ATpI) Bill is passed in Parliament this month.
“Bravo for your article. I am a teacher trained in Zimbabwe, but teaching in Malawi, and I respect your arguments. Keep it up and be the voice of the voiceless. Thank you.”
“Great Show [Bottom Up expedition] … Please continue writing for us, teachers.”
“ECD ‘teachers’ (caregivers as they are called) are ‘owned’ by the Ministry of Gender [and] not the Ministry of Education. Meet you on Monday.”
“Wise people like you are the ones we are looking for…Teachers’ promotion is a big crisis. Those who have upgraded themselves have received no consideration. Why? More issues on teachers, please?”
“Ministry of Education asked us to surrender our photocopies of certificates last year, but nothing is happening to change our grades.”
“Why are teachers that upgrade themselves from government accredited university colleges treated differently from those graduates who just join teaching straight from college? Who, between someone with a degree and experience, and someone with a degree but no experience deserves more and better treatment?”
“Teachers must blame themselves for their situation. I have never seen a bunch of civil servants that is as docile as teachers, particularly primary school teachers. Every year they are deducted something like K500 per month as membership fees for TUM (Teachers Union of Malawi). What has TUM done during its more than 30 years of existence to defend teachers’ rights? During the MCP era teachers were always the first to be paid, no matter where they lived and taught. What my fellow teachers must understand is that since 1994 teachers are considered the scum of the civil service. Since 1994, teachers’ salaries are often late and irregularly paid. As I write, some teachers in the Southern Region have not received their leave grants for last year. What does this say about the value our so-called multiparty democracy governments place on early education in Malawi?”
“President Mutharika already said that civil servants who want a lot of money should leave and join the private sector. The problem with teachers is that they don’t listen. Start listening, guys, be creative, innovative and leave the teaching profession. The DPP is not interested in you (teachers)!” n