Document Type

Open Access Capstone

Publication Date



This study investigated the payment system of primary teachers in Malawi with an aim of finding the weaknesses for improvement. Lilongwe district was chosen as a case study. The study followed the qualitative methods of face-to-face interviews with ministry officials at central office, division office, district office and head teachers. Other partners in the payment system were also interviewed, thus, the police and banks.

Little is known on how teachers are paid in other developing countries. A lot of work however seems to be done in teacher management with an emphasis in recruitment and deployment. Payment of teachers being part of teacher management is receiving little attention, yet the challenges are numerous. To this effect, decentralization of education services is gaining group as a way out to improve teacher management.

The study asks three basic questions. First, what is current system of paying teachers? What are the challenges? And, how can the system be improved? The study has therefore revealed the Personnel Pension Payroll Information (PPPI) unit at the central office and the district education offices in the MoEST do a lot in the payment system. Treasury Department in the MoF, however has a strong hand of finances. It has therefore been recommended that the PPPI and the districts office should be priority areas to supplied with necessary resources.

The challenges faced by the system are delays, existence of ghost teachers, failure to create payrolls, failure to delete those leaving the system from payroll, and the lack of security. The study however, went further to investigate what contributes to these challenges. Treasury Department and the PPPI have been cited as the main cause of delays. One of the major concern is the failure to delete names of those that are leaving the system and difficulty in introducing a payroll, which results in ghost teachers. There is a need to enforce a structure that will improve monitoring of day-to-day activities of the payment system.

Paying the teachers through the bank was thought to be a way forward, however, the study shows that it cannot easily be done. Head teachers find it no problem but questions what sort of mechanism can be put in place to reduce travelling for long distances, particularly to rural schools. The banks yet feel they can come in and assist but this will require an introduction of new banking system. To this end, it will need the initiative of government to venture into agreement with the banks. Decentralization seems to be the way forward but requires a supply of enough resources. Thus, decentralizing the PPPI to district level can have substantial improvement in data management, simultaneously improving teachers management.