By Zenak Matekenya
Mzuzu, April 6, Mana: Public primary school learners have vowed to continue taking to the streets to curtail teachers’ sit-away emanating from government’s disapproval to pay the teachers Covid-19 risk allowances.
The leaners were speaking Tuesday when they presented a petition to District Education Manager (DEM) for Mzuzu City after demonstrating along the Orton Chirwa Avenue via Mzuzu Court House where they chanted on the veranda forcing staff to close the entrance doors.
About ten uniformed police officers and some in civilian dressing provided security and controlled the learners during the demonstrations.
Presenting a hand written petition on A5 note book paper, Dine Luwazi, 13, who is a Standard 8 learner at one of the schools, said the sit-away was one way of forcing girl children to get married.
“There are no teachers in our schools. We are not happy because we have overstayed home yet Primary School Leaving Certificate Examinations (PSLCE) are starting soon. We call upon you DEM to consider us so that we get back to school,” she said almost in tears.
Patrick Mwenda another learner, said the sit-away is frustrating the leaners to pursue with studies fearing some will give up and end up in casual labour when they grow up.
He said the demonstrations will continue until relevant authorities resolve the issue.
Commenting on the matter after receiving the petition, DEM for Mzuzu City, Nameson Ngwira, said his office is worried with the situation.
He assured the leaners that the office will pursue the issue with authorities and expressed optimism that things will normalise soon.
He urged the leaners to refrain from any act of violence as the issue is being resolved.
The leaners came from Masasa, Lunyangwa, Katoto and St Peters Primary Schools among others.
The teachers’ sit-away was effected by Teachers Union of Malawi (TUM) which is forcing government to pay the teachers Covid-19 risk allowances.