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Uncle Harvest: Teachers at Community Day Secondary Schools
As Malawians, we are very good at feigning surprises on things that we have always known: how many can say they never knew who teaches in these Community Day Secondary Schools?
MALAWI: The Daily Times today has carried an article titled “Scandalous: 19 percent of Secondary School Teachers unqualified, MSCE holders teaching Sec Students”.
As Malawians, we are very good at feigning surprises on things that we have always known.
Right from the days of the Malawi Correspondence Colleges, through Malawi Colleges of Distance Education Centres, the precursors of the Community Day Secondary Schools, who in the Ministry of Education, Civil Society Organisations, Media, and any Malawian who has relations in rural areas, how many can say they never knew who teaches in these Community Day Secondary Schools?
Those who follow the history of education in this country will recall that when late Ms. Kate Kainja, may her soul rest in peace, was Minister of Education, she led in the establishment of Domasi Teachers College, Diploma in Education programs, to address this very challenge.
However, and unfortunately, when these teachers completed their studies, they were not redeployed to Community Day Secondary Schools as originally intended but to regular Secondary Schools.
It is time this country paid tribute to these MSCE holder teachers for their courage to take on tasks greater than themselves and make sacrifices to live in rural areas on behalf of all of us.
They too would love to live and work in urban areas like the so-called" educated ones"
Truth be told, some of these rural Community Day Secondary Schools have produced surprising results in the hands of these “unqualified teachers”. Yes, though far between.
In addition, these teachers work under very trying circumstances; teaching learners who are mostly either day schoolers, who commute long distances daily or are self borders, with little or no teaching and learning materials, lack of role models, no laboratories for science subjects, and no running, potable water and electricity.
The poor results at MSCE are not only because of the “unqualified teachers” but this other myriad of factors that make teaching and learning very difficult, if not impossible.
If you are of my age, you must have been taught by MYP teachers, most of who were T2 teachers, some even taught sciences and maths, producing good results at MCE because they taught in schools that had conducive teaching and learning environments.
Let us stop feigning surprise with a situation that we all have always known. Let us walk the talk, employ all qualified teachers that are jobless, employ those graduates that are jobless and don't have an education qualification, put them on a University Certificate in Education programme, that is only 12 months long.
We must offer an attractive rural allowance for teachers living and working in rural areas.
We can as well employ them with a contract condition that they will work in the rural areas for a minimum of three years before being considered for urban deployment.
Let us get our priorities right; the education of this nation. Can we for once commit ourselves to produce a generation that will be better than us?
Our greatest curse as a nation is that we are not intergeneration thinkers and planners. Our children will pull down our tombstones for our dismal failure.