Zomba — Teachers in the country will soon afford a smile after being assured of early payment of their monthly salaries as Government plans to effect salary preparations at division level.
Minister of Education Science and Technology, Dr. Lucious Kanyumba made the revelation at St Martins Education Zone in Zomba when he conducted an interface meeting with teachers in the district.
Teachers openly lamented during the meeting that among the problems they are facing was delay of payment of their monthly salaries which they said sometimes takes two months causing suffering to their families besides affecting their motivation to deliver at work.
In response, Kanyumba assured the teachers that government is working with the Ministry of Local Government, Ministry of Finance and the Accountant General to decentralize the paying of teachers' salaries to the Education Division level.
"I know there are problems in payment of our teachers' salaries, who are estimated at 75,000 in the civil service seconded by the Agriculture sector at 10,000 work force. We, in the Ministry have already started putting up a plan to pay you through the division offices to speed up the payment," he assured.
Dr. Kanyumba also said government has already promoted 16,000 teachers as one way of motivating them apart from increasing the rural hardship allowance.
However, some teachers observed that the promotions seem not to be fair as new comers and science teachers were the ones dominating the list adding that the Division Education Manager and the District Education Manager should be given power to conduct the interviews on behalf of the Teaching Service Commission.
But Kanyumba maintained decentralizing the promotion interviews to the district level as far as he was concerned would bring more problems and favouritism adding the Teaching Service Commission was an independent body and credible to conduct the interviews.
He also said it has been noted that most of the old timers did not perform well during the written and promotion interviews therefore outwitted by the new comers adding that is why after the first promotions, government also invited those that have worked for say more than 12 years to compete so that they were also promoted.
Some teachers also observed that government promised to give them a license to teach but the programme has not been implemented to their surprise.
Responding to the query, District Education Manager (DEM) for Zomba, Dr. Abraham Sineta said his office had already collected all the details of the teachers and has sent them to the division office where they will be forwarded to the Ministry Headquarters for processing.
The Minister of Education Science and Technology is on a country tour of all the districts to interact with teachers as one way of planning together with them on the problems they are facing in order to find a way to motivate them in order to improve the quality of education which according to many experts are dwindling at the end of each day.