The road to disaster

The recent changes in the education sector are very unfortunate. The new curriculum with science was just announced but not implemented. This move shows a worrying trend in the whole government sector: plans are developed (sometimes in luxurious lakeside resorts) but the implementation is always lacking. Government spends a lot of people, time resources on documents that are only referred to the bottom drawer but never implemented. And when the ministry of education tries to implement one, it shows it has no capacity.

Even worse is the trend to get rid of everything that they can so they can save money. We know that government is in total dire straits because they manage to mess up donor support (by being too corrupt for the donors to accept). Now the civil servants at Capital Hill are saving money, simply because it is not there. But of course they are not saving on their own perks, oh no! Their own salaries and benefits are so sacred to them that they get paid first. And then they decide to not hire the teachers the country needs so badly, or the medical staff the country needs so badly. The doctors have shown the way though: they threatened a strike, and the doctors and medical staff are hired. You see: this government does not listen until industrial action is there. The teachers should do the same: get their new colleagues hired by announcing a strike. And strong activism: how about all teachers in the country assembling in front of Parliament the next seating? Or in front of the State House? (To secure their safety from overzealous police or other security personnel they need to invite the world press. In front of the united cameras of BBC, CNN, Fox, Al-Jazeera, Reuters, AP, AFP, Nation, Daily Times and more, the President cannot afford to get violent with his own teaching staff.)

But the new trend in school fees is disastrous: the fees are hiked 200%, 300%, 400% in some cases. This is impossible for the parents to pay for. This is not only a disaster for the learners, it is also a slow disaster for the country. Just imagine what happens when very few people can afford to send their children to school: we will have an uneducated nation in one or two decades. This government is avoiding the difficult question: “who can we do without?” and reform the civil service in line with the budget. Instead they ask the question: “Who can we easily pick from?” And the answer of course is: the people away from Capital Hill, away from the ruling class, away from the centre of power.

And what it means for the country? They do not consider. Malawi is going the wrong direction, and we need to do something about it. Mass demonstrations?


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