By Yamikani Msukwa
Polytechnic students, a constituent college of the University of Malawi, have warned to take unspecified action against the University of Malawi Council if it fails to resolve the on-going lecturers strike by the end of this week.
The students wrote an open letter to the council expressing their worries over the strike.
The lecturers went on strike following failure by the government to honor a 21 percent salary increment agreed upon last year.
The strike has delayed the opening of the most University of Malawi colleges, a move education activists fear would further disturb the academic calendar.
The constituent colleges remain closed two weeks into the school calendar following demands for the rationalization of salaries among public universities in the country.
President of the Polytechnic Students Union Owen Chikoti said there is no proper flow of information with regard to the issue a development that is affecting education at the institution.
According to the Secretary General of the Polytechnic Academic Staff Committee on Welfare (PASCOW) Gift Khangamwa, they are making fresh demands after realizing that even if government completes paying the last chunk of their earlier demands; their pay will still be lower than salaries of their colleagues in other public Universities in the country.
Assistant Registrar Communications at the University Office Akuzike Maliwichi confirmed that the University Council is currently negotiating with government on the matter.
“As of now a sub-committee of councils is involved in consultations with government which when concluded will lead to the issuing of the way forward.
“As of now nothing has been said on the way forward but as soon as government tells us something we’ll inform the media accordingly.
“We understand the gravity of the situation and we’re aware that students are not entering classes. We’re working hard carrying out negotiations with the government so that this situation will be taken care of and can be concluded as soon as possible,” said Maliwichi.
The spokesperson for the Ministry of Education, Science and Technology Rebecca Phwitiko said government is committed to complete paying the remaining bit of the initial salary hike agreement.