CSOs threaten court action over Health Sciences closure

Civil Society Organisations have given government up to next week Friday to open the Malawi College of Health Sciences campuses or risk being taken to court.

Youth and Society (YAS) and Civil Society Education Coalition (CSEC) said this during a joint press briefing in Lilongwe.

CSEC Executive Director Benedicto Kondowe said the closure must be treated as a serious issue as it has implications on students who have been without classes for eight months.

“As education stakeholders our interest is in education as well as youth empowerment and we therefore felt that the matter in question borders on two issues, first to do with their right to education as well as the issue of youth empowerment,” he said.

According to Kondowe, they have planned to engage the Ministry of Health, President Peter Mutharika and the college’s staff on a dialogue next week Wednesday, and if that fails they will take government to court.

“We are of the view that should those meetings not yield anything, as stakeholders we will be mobilising parents and meaningfully engage with the President of this country on the understanding that the President has been given different accolades, he is the Champion for Global Partnership on Education.”

“He is Youth Champion, he is She Impact Champion, and he also the Champion on High Education by the African Union and we believe that the positions that the president holds are quite strategic in that he must demonstrate that he is indeed quite committed to uplifting welfare of students,” Kondowe said.

Meanwhile, Malawi College of Health Sciences Mother Body President Iso Ken Bond has expressed optimism over the CSO’s intervention citing that the move will push government to reopen the college.

“We are so happy that Civil Society Organisations they want to help us so that we go back to school, and I am 100 percent sure that by the end of this exercise, government will respond because they has been no response for us,” he said.

The Malawi College of Health Sciences has been closed for eight months now as there is stalemate between employees and government on their demand to have their salaries increased with 47% and payment of their pension arrears.

Ironically, spokesperson in the Ministry of Health and Population Joshua Malango has given the MCHS employees a 14-day ultimatum to resume work or risk being fired.

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