Chanco students protests against fees hike: Malawi police fire teargas, students next vigil at State House

Students from Chancellor College in Zomba on Monday stage a strike to protest a recent tuition fee hike by the University of Malawi (Unima).

Students going back to campus after polic broke them from going into Zonba town

Students going back to campus after polic broke them from going into Zonba town

Chanco was on stand still

Chanco was on stand still

Teargas fired at students

Teargas fired at students

Chanco students stage protests

Chanco students stage protests

However the students’ protests were met with police’s barriers and  tear-gas.

The protestors were calling for “affordable education”.

“Our generation has been betrayed by this government in increases to tuition fees,” said one female student.

Another pointed out that education is a gift from one generation to another, saying “it is not a commodity to be bought expensive like in a high street.”

University of Malawi Students Union (Umsu) president Tionge Sikwese said they  decided to hold a vigil at the University Office in Zomba to force the University Council  reverse the fee hike.

Sikwese said if Unima Council will not reverses its decision to hike fees, the students will hold a similar vigil at the State House in Lilongwe.

Unima Council recently announced that mature entry students will be paying tuition fees ranging from K900 000 to K1.4 million, first year generic students will pay fees in the range of K400 000 to K600 000 while continuing students will  pay K400 000 per annum.

But the increases has been described as an attack on the least privileged students

Those marching on Monday accused government of “impoverishing the poorest students.”

Unima spokesperson Peter Mitunda said  strike was  ‘unprocedural’ because the students didn’t follow the right procedures.

Sikwese said they informed authorities that they would strike.

He also said the vigil is not politically motivated.

“The public should note that Umsu is not a political party. We warn those who are writing on social media associating Umsu with political parties to stop,” said Sikwese.

But their efforts to stage the vigil ended owing to a police blockade and teargas.

 

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8 thoughts on “Chanco students protests against fees hike: Malawi police fire teargas, students next vigil at State House”

  1. kapy says:

    If you think education is expensive, try ignorance.

  2. nicholaus kasunga says:

    Should we really compare Malawian economy to that of USA? Serious?

  3. nicholaus kasunga says:

    Hello good people! The ongoing fees hike issue is for everyone especially we Malawians whose our children/wards are at different constituent colleges of the university of Malawi(UNIMA). Firstly I really appreciate that tertiary education at university is really expensive globally. However, we need to act as unit , a unit that knows Malawi and its economy, a unit that is not in USA, not in UK, not in Somalia u can name. These students r not fools, they r intellectuals, they have a basis why they are doing that. They depend on their parents /guardians for the fees. You and these students know for sure the difficulty lies in forking those proposed fees. People at the university council must realize they know the Malawian economy. They should act as people who come from Chitipa, Kasungu ,Mangochi,Nsanje and from north, central and southern region of Malawi – they are not from Manchester nor from Japan. People how many of us can fork out those fees at once, twice, thrice or so a year for our college children? Do those children u call students belong to parents who are engulfed in Malawiian economy? If so, why then that u parents are just watching students alone fighting the fees issue against the unima council as if you will b able to pay for them? Parents these students need your help too. Do not pretend this issue does not concern u. U parents work at police , civil society, unima council, law society, economic group, education committee , health sector, agricultural sector – all of your salaries are determined based on Malawian economic status. And I heard salary hike is proposed at less than 50% but your college children fees is hiked at 500% or so. Does that really gives sense that u should just b sitting back watching your children fight this battle alone? We r Malawians , understand these students . I call upon Parents, unima council, civil society, government to work together in bringing this issue to a round table discussion rather than dismissing students views. You fire tear gases at your own children , u deny them opportunity to hold a vigil saying they didn’t follow right procedure so why can’t u help them the right way? . Lets all be players in this because it is everyone’s future. Inu makolo inu ma salary anu anayambapo akwerapo ndi 500% ?

  4. Life says:

    This protest is a sign that these students are not well acquainted with how expensive education is. In almost all developed countries, people pay huge amounts in fees. In the USA, while students may get some money in form of scholarships, its almost inevitable that they would attain their degree without a loan of some kind. Majority of the people owe loans that take so many years, almost half of their working life while paying back.
    With the economic situation prevailing world over, it is unrealistic to expect education and indeed many services to be provided free. The only realistic way out in order to have quality education is for students to contribute (in from of fees) because the so called fees paid does not meet the cost of educating them.
    It is high time this impoverished nation started to face realities and act accordingly. The UNIMA should, in order to prevent recurrence of these protests, expel all students inciting this. The best thing for them to do would be to negotiate for loans or payment plans that could extend to even beyond their finishing college.

  5. samson innocent says:

    An ambition and thirsty of vengeance will destroy Man,And mostry riot is the langauge of unhead.Ndinu akuluakulu,Musamenyane pachibale kambilanani.

  6. The Oracle says:

    Crazy students, high fees will translate into quality in teaching and learning. High school fees should be no problem, and what these students should demand is to increase budgetary support to loans board so that the difference caused by the hike should be taken as loans and students should continue paying the same economic fees until, their parents get pay rise.

  7. The Analyst says:

    O…………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………..O
    In the days of old; demonstrations were the only language leaders used to understand.
    . . . As such even for the Unima Council to give us ndalama ya SACCO (as we used to call it); we had to first protest and the same or next day, we were the richest men in Babylon (for a day or week).
    . . . Even in the year of the Hyena, when Section-65 stood in the way of the national budget; we took our buses to State House (which also used to house Parliament); and swore at, threatened and bashed cars for opposition MP’s. Until the budget was passed.
    . . . Truth is, althought we played a role, there were other factors at play, specifically leaders (opposition or otherwise) who had real ears (osati achionetserowa iai) and minds (that were still in shape).
    …………………………………………………………………………….
    Its a different story altogether, now . .
    . . . You will go and hold the vigil at the State House, but yield nothing. Painful truth!
    . . . Not because APM is stubborn; but because he is good at not taking action or making a decision. He just doesnt care. Remember the Academic Freedom saga.
    . . . In the end, you will have wasted your time. Sadly, “Anybody who dares to waste even an hour of time, has not yet discovered the value of life.” – Charles Darwin.
    O……………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………O

  8. kasim says:

    That’s the way to go. Kodi iwowa ikanakhala kuti fees ili chonchi akanaphunzira? This is being insensitive to the needs of the citizens in this country. They want children of poor people not to be educated so that they flood these universities with their dull children. Think of that amount how many parents even those who are working can afford that. Surely if you had a president who grew up and attended Malawian schools or university would not accept this nosense. The one you have has no idea on the level of incomes in this country he thinks in dollar terms. Sorry I feel sorry for you because most of those parents who are extremely poor in this country come from your party’s stronghold. Munya muona

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