Code of Conduct key to improving teacher standards and accountability in Malawi

A comprehensive and broadly accepted Teacher Code of Conduct is key to enhancing teacher standards and accountability in education systems. This was the view of participants at a consultation workshop held recently in Mangochi, Malawi to review the Draft Teacher Code of Conduct (CoC).

Director of Teacher Education and Development (DTED) within the Ministry of Education Misheck Munthali said “teacher standards and teacher accountability are two of the nine key dimensions that are considered crucial to any comprehensive teacher policy and the draft teacher Code of Conduct Malawi is developing should help enhance these policy dimensions.”

He further stated that as Malawi is developing its teacher policy with support from UNESCO’s Norwergian Teacher Initiative (NTI) project, “it is critical that contents of the Code of Conduct are well integrated in the policy”.

This was echoed by Director of Secondary Education Ruth Samati who said a teacher code of conduct is critical for Malawi and when completed, should be disseminated to every teacher within the country. 

It is important to ensure that there is a good synergy between the code of conduct and other related documents such as the Misconduct and Disciplinary Procedures for The Teaching Profession in Malawi to avoid overlaps.
Ruth Samati, Director of Secondary Education

Chief Inspector from MoE’s Directorate of Inspection and Services Harold Chigalu said since their directorate is responsible for ensuring that standards are maintained in the education sector, they will ensure that all inputs from stakeholders are taken into account and the Code of Conduct is well aligned to this objective. He thanked UNESCO’s NTI project for supporting previous consultation meetings for the code of conduct and plans to support its printing. 

The meeting noted that there is need for further fine-tuning before the Code of Conduct is finalized. It was also agreed that the scope of the CoC should include teachers from Teacher Training colleges and should clearly denounce corporal punishment. The meeting further noted that since the CoC suggests that teachers should dress professionally, there is need to have an appendix of a detailed dressing code for teachers. The CoC should also be properly referenced and synchonised with other related documents. The refinement process is expected to be completed by the end of December 2020.

UNESCO’s Norwergian Teacher Initiative (NTI) project has been supporting Malawi’s Ministry of Education through the Teachers Union of Malawi to finalise the development of the Teachers’ Code of Conduct.