After government walked out of talks with the Teachers Union of Malawi, the union is planning to strike from May 9th. They have a number of greivances including the failure to pay most secondary teachers in March and other long-standing pay arrears.

To make matters worse the government is refusing to promote teachers who have passed the necessary qualifications and interviews. Teachers have been told that they will not get promotion until another teacher dies, making a post available. Others have had their promotion witheld unless they teach in a rural area - but the union points out that the government provides no transport to get teachers to remote areas.

TUM said in a statement Teachers have patiently waited for too long and for sure the patience has run out. What justification would your Ministry have to fail to pay the salary arrears, some of which were accrued way back in 2010? We have waited for too long and enough is enough.

Not only do teachers in Malawi too often have to work on an empty stomach, condtions for teaching and learning are very bad with many classes over 100. Moreover  teachers in the country can earn as little as $50 a month, and yet Malawi is a country from which tobacco corporations make massive profits, both by exploiting small farmers and through the use of child labour. Even as it is creating the enabling, low tax and low regulation environment to allow this to happen, the World Bank is also engaged in a five year project to 'improve education quality in Malawi.' Dollars are being poured into decentralising education and big data and testing systems, while the latest project report admits, 'The shortage of . . .  teachers may have adverse impact on teaching and learning and on learning outcomes.' You couldn't make it up.