The newly formed Secondary School Teachers Union (SESTU) executive says time has come for the welfare of teachers to be addressed with visionary leadership on the helm.
The union which is a break away from the mother body, Teachers Union of Malawi (TUM), was registered on 5th August, 2020 to advance the concerns of secondary school teachers, like non-promotion, accumulation of arrears, underpayment of teachers who have upgraded and deserve new salaries.
Speaking during a media briefing at Bwaila Secondary School in Lilongwe SESTU Interim President, Pilirani Kapolo, a teacher at Namitete Secondary School said the formation was done to lessen the burden that a single union could not manage.
Kapolo said they have noticed the increased unprofessional conduct by secondary school teachers in public sector so they want to complement on government’s effort to correct the challenge.
“We supported the strike that happened recently because it’s legal and their right, beacuse at that time they had only TUM in existence representing the welfare of all teachers in the country,” Kapolo
Currently there are 3,080 members, which is voluntary but the Union’s target is teachers in public secondary schools with a K500 membership fee upon joining.
Kapolo revealed that plans are in the pipeline to form a Taechers’ Savings and Credit Corporation (Sacco) in order to save teachers from being reduced to beggars and bail out teachers economically and empower them.
When contacted, TUM President, Willy Malimba, said he was in a meeting and requested for more time to respond.
Executive Director for Civil Society Education Coalition (CSEC) appealed for the executive of the two unions to work together whenever there are matters of common interest to show solidarity.
Kondowe further appealed to government not to remain silent on teacher’s concerns that saw them putting chalk down.
In a letter seen by signed by Benedicto Kondowe, which was issued on 4th May, 2021 titled ‘The Civil Society Education Coalition, call for the Ministry to Exercise Responsibility in Resolving the Current Standoff with the Teacher Union of Malawi expressed worry over delays in responding to teachers concerns.
Kondowe said it is saddening to note that government has failed to engage TUM in proper contact and dialogue since the signing of the consent order on 12th April, 2021.