Teachers Union of Malawi (TUM) has dismissed threats by some teachers that they will boycott invigilation of this year’s Malawi School Certificate of Education (MSCE) examinations which start this Thursday.
In an interview yesterday, TUM president Willie Malimba said the teachers have no basis for the boycott.
He was responding to issues raised in a communiqué addressed to TUM, which The Nation has seen, where the invigilators are threatening to boycott the exams in protest of the Malawi National Examinations Board (Maneb)’s decision to slash their allowances.
The communique, signed by ‘concerned teachers’, describes Maneb’s implementation of new reforms in the administration of examinations, such as invigilation on commuter basis rather than the usual residential, as heartless and barbaric.
“Government and its statutory body may wish to know that in certain cases, practical examinations go beyond 6pm to midnight. It will take great sacrifice for a teacher to offer such service for a K5 000 (grade J) and K8 000 (grade I).
“If tangible solutions are not found, we will boldly cooperate to boycott the exercise. We would wish to be communicated on the same by Tuesday June 19, 2018,” reads the communiqué in part.
In his remarks, Malimba said the teachers have no basis as TUM discussed the issue with Maneb where they agreed to implement the new reforms aimed at resolving outstanding issues of late payment to invigilators.
He urged the concerned teachers to table their issues openly so that the secretariat can act on them other than writing anonymous letters.
Said Malimba: “We are strongly against the decision to boycott the exams. Maneb is not responsible for assigning teachers to invigilate exams. If anything, they have to raise the issue with their respective District Education Managers who assign teachers for invigilation.”
On his part, Maneb executive director Gerald Chiunda said Maneb instituted some changes in the administration of the examinations.
He said: “In the past, Maneb was facing challenges regarding the budget line for invigilation of examinations. This year, we have made sure we operate within the strict public resource management system through the use of automation. Some may not like the decision but we consulted all stakeholders on the issue and together came up with resolutions.”
About 209 000 students are set to sit the 2018 MSCE examinations.
Maneb expects to spend about K1 billion on the exams invigilation.