President Peter Mutharika has againt been called to intervene in the University of Malawi (Unima) fees hike impasse by Mzuzu University (Mzuni) students who are arguing that his silence will worsen the already volatile situation.
Unima students at three of its four constituent colleges—the Polytechnic, Chancellor College and Kamuzu College of Nursing (KCN)—are protesting fees hike by the Unima Council.
The fees ranging from K400 000 to K600 000 were increased from K55 000/K275 000 per academic year.
Mzuni Students Representative Council (Musrec) president Wazamazama Katatu has given President Mutharika, as chancellor of the public universities, a wake up call to resolve the matter.
In a statement made available to Nyasa Times, Mzuni students say Mutharika “should make timely intervention into the matter in his capacity as both an academic achiever who is also an inspirational figure to all youths who are following his education footsteps in this country and as chancellor because he is the only key player who has a critical role and he is holding viable solutions to end the Unima crisis.”
The statement added: “No figure is more relevant than the chancellor where the issue has now reached, hence his physical presence on the scene cannot be overemphasised.”
The statement also condemns the hike, saying it is punitive and should not be tolerated in the current fragile economy.
The protests against fees hike comes amidst report that 50 percent of students who enrol at Lilongwe University of Agriculture and Natural Resources (Luanar) fail to complete their education due to financial problems.
Luanar vice-chancellor Professor Kanyama Phiri said due to poverty, many students live in pathetic houses to meet the low cost. Yet they struggle to feed themselves and end up attending lectures on empty stomachs.
University of Malawi (Unima) spokesperson Peter Mitunda confirmed students drop out cases due to financial problems.
Civil Society Education Coalition (CSEC) executive director Benedicto Kondowe said there is great need to support university education as one way of boosting development and the economy.
He said the secret of any development is educating people to move with the modern trends in life.
“We all know how fast the world is changing so we need well educated people. Luanar, for example, is the centre of agriculture and agriculture is the mainstay of the economy. If there are no more people being trained in agriculture because they can’t get any assistance then we will collapse.
“It’s similar with other colleges; we need to build the construction industry, education, economy, health and many more. This is where it is done,” said Kondowe.Follow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :