JB dairy farming remark upsets teachers, activist

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Teachers Union of Malawi (Tum) has described as demoralising President Joyce Banda’s remark in Neno last month where she said dairy farming is more rewarding than teaching.

The President said this in an effort to encourage dairy farming in the district and across the country.

Teachers Union of Malawi (Tum) Secretary General Denis Kalekeni said President Banda’s statement risked further demoralising teachers.

“That was a direct concession that teaching is the most marginalised profession in the country and not attractive in any way [as] it is a profession where one dies poor,” said Tum Secretary General Denis Kalekeni over the weekend.

Kalekeni has since urged President Banda to improve on teachers’ welfare since her statement shows she knows it is an impoverishing profession.

“Now that our Head of State knows that teaching is a profession of the poorly paid, we urge her to take necessary steps to mitigate this,” he said.

Executive Director for Civil Society Education Coalition Benedicto Kondowe said the statement was both dehumanising and harsh to teaching.

He said such statement risked bringing down further the morale of teachers in the country.

“We expect politicians to steer efforts that motivate teachers and other stakeholders towards achieving MDG Millennium Development Goal (MDG) II which envisages education as a vessel towards the attainment of socio-economic development.

“One would, therefore, conclude that positive thinking, positive image and good conduct from the country’s leadership and politicians would demonstrate and live up to the aspiration of this goal,” Kondowe said.

State House Press Secretary Steve Nhlane could not respond to our questions on the concern from Tum on several attempts made from December 23.

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