There are fears Mzuzu University (Mzuni) may be forced to alter its academic calendar following fire that gutted the institution’s library on the early hours of Friday, destroying a total of 45, 000 books and computers.
Students who witnessed the inferno told Malawi News Agency (Mana), that the fire started around 3:00 a.m. Friday as a simple spark closer to the library’s main entrance. In a short time, it turned out to be a fierce fire which spread to the entire building within minutes after the spark.
While some sources claim Mzuzu City Fire Brigade came in good time but did not have enough water to put off the huge fire, others allege students turned the fire fighters away because it was already too late for them to manage the fire.
With the Open Distance Learning (ODL) students scheduled to resume their studies in January 2016, some students are worried that the damage may affect the opening of the school in January for the ODL programme and March for the full-time students.
Speaking in an interview with Mana Friday morning, Mzuni Vice Chancellor, Dr Robert Ridley, conceded the destruction of the college library may affect the college university’s academic calendar.
However, the Mzuni Vice Chancellor said the institution’s officials would soon come up with short and long-term solutions to make up for the destroyed library.
Unable to tell what will happen following the fire accident, the Vice Chancellor said investigation to establish the cause of the fire, and assessment to find the value of the items destroyed, are underway.
“It may be dangerous to speculate now. It is likely that the students [especially ODL ones] will be affected because it is a library [that has been damaged], but first of all we have to find out what happened and how the fire started.
“At the moment, in terms of books and equipment, we are undertaking a full assessment of the damage and afterwards we can attach the total value,” said the vice chancellor.
Ridley further said the library is not just the value, but the worth that goes into creating it.
“Talk of books, computers and some confidential academic documents about the university, Mzuzu [City] and Malawi as whole, that have been lost in the fire,” said Ridley, adding that the institution will engage its stakeholders as soon as possible to map the way forward.
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