| Establishment | Objectives | Powers | Membership | Achievements | Future Plans |
Organisation Structure
Future Plans
1.0 Brothers and Sisters, the purpose of this talk is to furnish you with the background information of the Teacher Organisation, agreeably known as Teachers' Union of Malawi and in short TUM. This Union is an organ of teachers with a constitution which has experienced several changes in order to match with the educational and political developments taking place in the country since 1945.
Formal education in Malawi was started by various missionaries such as tile Free Church Mission (Livingstonia Mission) Church of Scotland, Universities Mission to Central Africa, Roman Catholic Mission, Dutch Reformed Mission, Zambezi Industrial Mission, Church of Christ and other missionaries who opened up mission stations in the Country later on. The education of these missionaries basic emphasized oil Christianity principles and attainment of the 3R's namely, Reading, Writing and Arithmetic. The missionaries employed teachers who worked under their instructions and advice. During that time the role of the Colonial Government of education of the Africans was practically nil. All instructional materials and conditions of the teachers' service were set up by the missionaries themselves. However, later on there was as need for the Government to come in to co-ordinate the Organisation of African Education in the countrv. Therefore, the first Department of Education was established in 1925, and Mr Gaunt was tile first Director of Education in Nyasaland.

The establishment of the Department of Education in Nyasaland marked a milestone in the history of teaching service. It brought in a feeling of togetherness among the teachers in the profession. The African teachers, inspite of being employed by different missionaries operating schools on different religious principles, realised they were all bound together by the African Child whom they taught. In their various mission institutions, they realised they had similar problems in their engagements in teaching the child. Therefore, they felt the problems would be solved by having joint meetings in schools. Teachers of Henry Henderson Institute (H.H.I)were the first to initiate this idea. This led to the formation of the Nyasaland Teachers Association (NTA) in the same 1945, whose first general meeting was opened by Mr Lawrence Buchanan, Acting Director of Education, in September, 1945 at H.H.1 Primary School. The meeting was attended by representatives from all mission institutions except Jeans Training Centre at Domasi, in Zomba District. In this meeting the delegates resolved for an annual subscription of 2s.6d per teacher and made many recommendations to the Director of Education. In 1945 a NTA delegation met Mr Douglas Willer,the Director of Education by then to ask the Association's representation at national level. The Director advised the NTA delegates to form District, Regional and National Committees respectively. The delegates also negotiated for improvement to the conditions of service of teachers. They negotiated for:

  1. Gratuity and pension for teachers going on retirement.
  2. Establishment of Unified Teaching Service Rules (UTS Rules)
  3. Representation in the African Education Council, Christian Council and District Education Committee.
  4. Good working conditions for the teachers e.g. receiving allowances, getting accommodation etc. Most of the requests were favourably answered after some years of negotiations.

Malawi became independent on 6th July, 1964. This marked yet another milestone in the history of the Organisation. After attaining our independence in 1964 the Nyasaland Teachers Association' changed its name to 'Teachers Association of Malawi'(TAM). After attaining our Republic on 6th July, 1966 the organisation again changed its name to 'Teachers' Union of Malawi' (TUM). For the reasons best known to the Ministry of Education, the operations of Teachers Union of Malawi were construed undesirable, consequently they shelved off TUM's operations in 1974. The Ministry of Education opted for a caretaken committee comprising of MOE and 3 former TUM Officials. This caretaker committee was charged with the responsibility of scrutinizing the operations and life of the teachers Organisation in Malawi.

In 1982 MOE came up with new and modified Constitution and renamed the teachers Organisation Teachers Association of Malawi (TAM). MOE officials went all out conducting elections for District Office Bearers after the sampled teachers were introduced to the new constitution. This was followed by Regional elections and National elections were held in December, 1982 at Lilongwe Teachers College. TAM became operational at national level in May 1993 with an informial automatic membership put in place.

The informal automatic membership faced resistance from some members last year owing to Malawi's political changes and freedom of expression which continue being experienced. And in a bid to justify the democratic right, of its membership, an Extraordinary General Meeting was convened which was preceded by District and Regional Conferences to review and determine the direction and operations of TAM.

The 172 delegates at that Extraordinary General Meeting held at Doninsi Teachers College from Ist to 3rd October, 1993 resolved among others Lo revert the name to Teachers Union of Malawi (TUM)and that its membership be voluntary. B constitution, the organisation became a Union on 2nd October, 1993 but by procedural, we were y certified TUM on 9th February 1994.

TUM operations are professional and mostly interested in the welfare of teacher-, pupilsfstudents and education as a whole. As such, we are instrumental in identifying problems affecting the teachers, pupils/s(udeilts and education in our country and we appraise the authorities about the same. Where possible, we tryto find possible solutions or supplement and complement Government's efforts in addressing some of the identified problems.

The present constitution of the Union includes objectives and powers that have been invested in the Union.

The Objectives of the Union are:

  1. To unite all teachers in Malawi;
  2. to promote the profession of teachers of all grades in Malawi and their qualifications by conducting courses aimed at improving methods of reaching in various subjects and by such other means as the Association may consider necessary;
  3. To facilitate the exchange of useful information am members of the Association on professional and educational matters, circulation of news-letters, Organisation of Seminars at District, Regional and National levels',
  4. To work hand in hand and exchange information with other teachers' crganisations and educational bodies outside Malawithrough exchange of visits and exchange ofteachers' journals,
  5. To improve the education standards of its members by conducting academic courses at Slandard 8, JC, MSCE or GCE levels in certain subjects;
  6. To serve as mouthpiece for its members to the Ministry of Education and educational authorities or other bodies by bringing to their notice matters affecting the designing of syllabi, staff distribution, school equipment, teachers and classroom accommodation;
  7. To secure representation on public and private bodies where such representations may be required; and
  8. To place at the disposal of the Malawi Government, the Ministry of Education, the Advisory Council on Education and others, who arc concerned with educational affairs, the advice, experience and general co-operation of the Union.
  9. To secure unified and better terms and conditions of employment and service for all teachers; to extend the influence of the Union in Malawi by establishing branches of the Union at National, Regional, District and Zonal levels;
  10. To watch the administration and the working of the various educational codes, ordinances, regulations minutes and circulars and to procure the amendments of their terms and administration where educationally desirable so as to secure the removal of difficulties, abuses and absoicte regulations detrimental to progress; and
  11. To seek and promote sound educational facilities for all children in Malawi.
The Union has powers to:
  1. Purchase and or take on lease property real or personal and maintain, let, sell or mortgage any such property and generally deal with its property in any way the Union deems necessary;
  2. Where necessary establish branches at Regional and District levels and appoint members to assist it in carrying out any of its functions;
  3. Raise funds by way of borrowin.-, donations or gifts of money or other property from any Iverson or body of persons for the furtherance of its objects;
  4. Employ any person or body corporate upon terms or conditions and remuneration as may be considered necessary;
  5. Invest and deal with any of its moneys not immediately required in any Securities in such manner as it may Think Fit:
  6. Print, publish, issue or circulate any information, report, periodical book, pumplet, leaflet or any other material relating to the Association; and
  7. Generally, do all things which any body corporate may by law perform.

    The objectives are found in sub-sections (a) to (1) of section 4, Part 11 of the constitution and the powers are stipulated in sub-sections (a) to (g) of section 5 Part II. It is important that all the members of the Union must know the objectives and powers invested in their Union.

The Annual General Meeting is the supreme. authority of the Union which comprises of Delegates from the Union National Executive, Regional and District Committees. Its decisions are final and binding on all its members and branches.
In the new TUM Constitution, the Union National Executive Committee is composed of 6 elected member- anti 7 others representing teachers in all educational segments, 3 TUM Regional Chairmen and 2 ex-officio members.

The elected members take positions as General Chairman, Vice General Chairman, General Treasurer, Vice General Treasurer, General Publications Officer, and a Lady Representative. The positions of General Secretary and Deputy General Secretary are on appointment and therefore are ex-official members. The other seven appointed members respectively represent Primary, Distance, Secondary, Technical, Teacher Training, Special and Tertiary Education in Malawi.

At all these levels there are 11 elected members in the Committee. In each committee there is a Chairman, Vice Chairman, Secretary, Vice Secretary, Treasurer, Vice Treasurer, Publications Officer, a Lady Representative and 3 Committee members except at Zonal Level where there is an additional title of t School Representative.
School representacive represents his/her school on TUM activities at the Zonal Level and as such lielslic performs the following duties:
  1. Acts as link between the school and-Zone/District Committee.
  2. Reports TUM activities at school level.
  3. Keeps records of TUM at his/her school.
  4. Gives positive influence to the other teachers (members) in TUM activities.
  5. Advises other teachers (members) on TUM matters.
NOTE: The process takes an up-ward trend vith views of TUM Members to influence the Annual General Meeting decisions.
The Union Executive and the various Committees tinder it have many functions to perform. Some of these functions are:
  1. Organizing regular TUM meetings, seminars and workshops at all levels.
  2. Ensuring proper accountability of funds and TUM'sproperty.
  3. Producing Magazines, Newsletters, Badges, Calendars, etc, and
  4. Planning TUM's activities.
After relating the composition of the committee at all levels you may now guess the officers eligible for membership in the Union.

The Union registers members in two categories:- Full Member and Associate Member.

Every teacher registered as such in the register of teachers in Malawi is eligible for admission to the Union as a full member upon completion of the Membership'tApplication and Registration form and payment of fee agreed upon at an Annual General Meeting of the Union.

The University lecturers and teachers in private schools, not registered in the Register of teachers, but are in active service and have paid their annual subscription fee are admitted as full members.

Every person who is:- a student - teacher in colleges; a retired teacher; and a missionary teacher is eligible for admission as Associate Member.

Associate Members shall not be obliged to pay membership fee but may make donations freely to the Union. However, an Associate Member may apply for full membership should he so desire. Where an Associate member is admitted to the Union as a full member, he shall be required to pay a membership fee as required by a full member and shall have all rights accorded to a full member.

As on ApriI 30 1994, there were 24,769 members as per informal automatic approach that existed. But to date we have more than 10,000 teacher- who have already voluntarily consented their membership to the Union as on May 27, 1994. There are still more application forms at the Secretariat which have yet to be computed.

As said earlier on, TUM is instrumental in idetifying problems affecting the teachers, pupils/students and education in our country which are presented to the government through appropriate authorities such as MOE. To allude to this point, you may appreciate that from 1986 to date, we have been able to identify over 60 pertinent issues and these we submitted to the Government through MOE. Whilst many remain unneeded to, but we proudly note that some of the improvements being made in our profession and in education system are direct results of our submission although we are rarely acknowledged.

We offer among others some professional and academic inservice training to our members, bursaries to our members and needy lady students, legal assistance, identity cards, Teachers Savings and Credit facilities, Social Welfare services and on some occasions contribute funds to some victim of disasters involving schools, teachers and pupils.The Union has its own 10 - room Secretariat Block at APHUNZITSI CENTRE in Lilongwe and currently we are constructing a two storey building which will offer valuable services to TUM members.

TUM has caused a feeling of professional unity among teachers at all levels. Primary school teachers are now Civil Servants getting the same privileges and terminal benefits as other CivilServants are in Malawi.

TUM has initiated various posts in the Education System in Malawi. It has been instrumental on the issue of decentralization of the Services of the Ministry of Education (Annual General Conference Resolutions of 1986).

It has also been instrumental in getting the Primary School Teachers Upgrading course scrapped off and there is in place automatic promotion upon obtaining necessary academic qualifications. It has taken the responsibility of running courses to assist primary school teachers to pass their Malawi School Certificate of Education.

It is mounting workshops for post-primary school teachers in special subjects. It conducts membership seminars/workshops in order to assist the teachers to be aware of their roles in the Union. It has re-introduced Teachers magazine now called TEMA. It initiated headship allowance that headmasters/mistresses now receive monthly.It has a vehicle, a gift from cooperating Organisation (LARAR FOR BUNDET OF SWEDEN). It has Auditors, Graham Carr & Co, P 0 Box 898, Lilongwe.

Because of efficiency and deligence that TUM has shown in performing its functions, it has won confidence and trust of international teacher organisations which voluntarily donate funds for the projects it undertakes in Malawi.

TUM is a paid up member of Southern Africa Teachers Organisation (SATO); All Africa Teachers Organisation (AATO)and Education International (EI). We are now getting ourselves affiliated to Trade Union Congress of Malawi and registering with Ministry of Labour. These moves are meant to strengthen further our mode of operations otherwise we are a legally established body capable of suing and be sued as well as perft)ming all such acts as bodies may by law perform.

Exploring possibilities of.-
  1. Introducing Discount Club
  2. Establishing a research unit
  3. Establishing a Secondary School
  4. Setting income generating programmes inorder to reduce dependence on sister/cooperating organisations.
  5. Signing Collective Bargaining Agreement with the Government.
We have discussed Teachers' Union of Malawi in the past, as it is to-day, but very little of what it will be in the future. While we may say it is difficult to predict what it will be in future, it would be better to start planning for a sound prosperous future for it. Although it is a voluntary-organisation aiming at appreciating professional problems together, we should not expect it to solve every problem that we encounter in the profession. We would be expecting too much from it. Perhaps we should follow what President John Kennedy (1963) said, as I quote, "Don't ask what your country should do for you. But ask what you should do for your country." These golden words may lead us to think what we should do for TUM instead of asking what TUM should do for us. Teachers' Union of Malawi tries to do something for you but it has limitations. Some of its limitations are lack of funds and inactiveness of some of its members. We are looking forward to your joining the Union and please come up with bright ideas which will help to reduce these limitations.
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