14 May 2018

Malawi: Chikwawa Teachers Boycott Work Over 'Likuni Phala' Theft Allegations

Chikwawa — Teachers at Kawaye Primary School in Chikwawa District have, for one week, been boycotting work leaving several pupils destitute in protest that they were being accused of stealing porridge flour by one villager.

Speaking in an interview with Malawi News Agency (Mana), Group Village headman Chilomo confirmed the development, saying the teachers boycotted teaching for a whole week.

"It's really true that teachers at Kawaye Primary have stopped teaching because it is claimed that one of the villages saw a teacher and one of the school committee members diverting a bag of porridge flour to one of the suspects' home.

It is said that the villager also insulted the two telling them to pack their things and go as they were taking development of the school at ransom. Because of that, all the teachers felt offended and decided stop teaching," said Chilomo.

The Group Village Head further said they were discussing the matter with the Teachers, School Committee, Village Development Committee (VDC) and the Primary Education Adviser (PEA) to see the way forward on the issue.

"We feel the action which the teachers took was a bit harsh because the mistake of one drunken villager should not affect our children from accessing education. We also don't know if what they did was under the law.

"But with the help of the PEA, school committee and Village Development Committee who discussed the matter in question, classes resumed on Thursday and we hope we will come up with a decision that will benefit both the teachers and our children," explained Chilomo.

In a separate interview, Kawaye Primary School head teacher, Dominic Mwadala, acknowledged that the teachers indeed boycotted the classes because they wanted to teach the community a lesson.

"My teachers cannot steal a bag of Likuni Phala. This is against our code of conduct. We are here to teach our students better behaviour, so if we steal, what kind of example we are setting for the students.

The issue here is that this man always does this whenever he is drunk. This is the fourth time and it was becoming a habit. In most cases, he insults and harasses my staff and when we reported him to the Group Village Headman, nothing changed. But we are back in classes no," indicated Mwadala.

On his part, Primary Education Adviser (PEA) for Mapelela Zone, Owen Kandiero, said the issue has been handled and the teachers are back in their respective classes.

"The teachers boycotted classes for a week because one villager accused them of stealing Likuni Phala which is not true.

"They might have overreacted but the situation is back to normal. We have discussed so that something like this should never happen again. We all want a better future for our children," said Kandiero.

He stressed that the boycotting of classes was not a good idea but that was what the teachers thought to be an immediate action solution.

"Right now, I am waiting for a report from the headmaster which I told him to write that will later be submitted to the District Education Manager (DEM)," said Kandiero.

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