Govt rebuffs teachers on Covid-19 risk allowance

The Presidential Taskforce on Covid-19 has rebuffed a demand by the Teachers Union of Malawi (TUM) to give teachers Covid-19 risk allowances.

Speaking through a ministerial statement in Parliament, Minister of Education Agnes NyaLonje said the Taskforce has already sent a communication to TUM informing them about the development.

According to NyaLonje, the Taskforce does not find it appropriate this time around to grant the striking teachers Covid-19 allowances.

“The House may wish to further note that the issue of Covid-19 risk allowances falls outside the remit of the Ministry of Education. The Taskforce guided that at this point they do not advise the Ministry of Education gives allowances,” said NyaLonje.

But commenting on the development, Machinga Likwenu Constituency legislator Bright Msaka has questioned government failure to resolve the standoff.

“How decisions been made in this government? This is a very important matter, what the teachers are going to hear today is that government has said no and yet she [NyaLonje] is saying other people have to put something in the thinking process for.

So I am somehow puzzled how the government is working, this is an important matter, we need a solution, teachers must be in class today,” said Msaka.

NyaLonje has however disclosed that when the country starts administering Covid-19 vaccine, teachers will be a priority.

“Teachers will be prioritised because we believe just as any other country in the world believes vaccines are a sure way of us beginning to control the presence of the virus in the population.

“And as the government considers bringing in vaccines and prioritising who gets them first, teachers alongside health workers will be a priority,” highlighted NyaLonje.

Meanwhile, TUM President Willy Malimba says the Union will call for an emergence meeting today to map the way forward.

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