Kunkuyu ramp up pressure on Mutharika: ‘University of Malawi fees must fall’

Former Minister of Information, Moses Kunkuyu has asked President Peter Mutharika to avoid burying his head in the sand but act swiftly on the controversial fees hike currently rocking the University of Malawi (Unima) to prevent a replica of the ugly scenes of the academic freedom saga where his unwarranted silence as Education Minister in 2011 presided over a retrogressive eight-month-closure of Chancellor College (Chanco).

Kunkuyu :Mutharika should not bury his head in the sand

Kunkuyu :Mutharika should not bury his head in the sand

The students pretend to be mourning fees hike at Lilongwe Civic Offices

The students pretend to be mourning fees hike at Lilongwe Civic Offices

Authorities recently announced an increase in fees which will see mature entry students pay tuition fees ranging from K900 000 ($1,249) to K1.4 million ($1,942), whilst first year students would pay between K400 000 ($555) and K600 000 ($833), continuing students will pay K400 000 ($555) per annum.

Angered by the development, students from the three constituent colleges of the Unima; Chancellor College, The Polytechnic and Kamuzu College of Nursing have held anti-fees hike demonstrations leading to running battles with police, students’ arrests and indefinite closure of the Chancellor College.

Dr. Jill Biden, wife to United States Vice President, who arrived in Malawi on July 18th at the start of a three-nation African tour, had a share of her own security scare when she was whisked away for safety to the Eastern Region Police.

However, while appreciating that higher education in Malawi is cheaper compared to other countries, Kunkuyu argued that it was wrong to expect the buying power of Malawians to match with that of people in other countries since economic performance indicators are clear that the country is poor performer.

He described the fee hike as inconsiderate, saying it depicts government’s serious detachment from the current economic realities the nation is facing.

“With our governments’ appetite for collecting money from citizens, the hike was expected just as we also expect more increases on other commodities but it is ill-timed considering that an average Malawian parent cannot afford that fee especially when the economy is seriously bleeding riddled with continued rise in prices of goods and food crisis,” said Kunkuyu.

He added: “The decision needed a thorough consultative process and proper planning to avert the careless closures of our colleges. We remember Mutharika promised the colleges would not be closed during his regime. What we have just seen is retrogressive and he must act now or dire consequences will follow to our education system”.

The former minister cautioned Mutharika against employing a silent approach on the matter saying Malawians had enough of such during the costly closure of Chancellor College when he headed the Ministry of Education.

“The president’s continued silence on this pertinent national issue baffles us. This is no matter for him to remain overly silent on. He must come out and intervene to correct this fee hike anomaly. Many will question his quick reaction on some trivia and politically aligned issues yet he remains mum on this crucial public interest matter. Surely, parents, the students and well-meaning Malawians cannot afford the president’s current silence and comfort on this matter,” said Kunkuyu.

Kunkuyu further advised the Mutharika’s administration to consider halting the Malata and Cement subsidies and channel huge investments towards tertiary education that he said has value addition to the country’ economic growth.

“Why do we concentrate on subsidies that are usually politicized? For sure if we make education subsidies; our graduates will be able to produce cement and Malata right here and even export some. They will be able to research and develop agricultural interventions that will contribute positively to the agriculture sector; which is the back bone of our economy.How do we turn the country into a producing and exporting one if we continue investing in areas that hardly add value to our economy?” wondered Kunkuyu.

Kunkuyu, who resigned from the People’s Party while calling on the country’s youth to rise to save Malawi, said the persistent closures of the colleges are a big demotivation to the frustrated youths who expect their leaders to make progressive decisions for their empowerment.

He has since asked Mutharika to walk the talk on his promises on mindset change and facilitate constructive dialogue between the university council and the students.

He added: “The problem lies with the kind of dialogue that takes place. You don’t call someone to a round-table discussion only to endorse your already made decision. Ideas and suggestions must be shared before settling for one. We can prevent these careless college closures through constructive engagement among all education stakeholders.”

Education activist, Benedicto Kondowe, told the local papers that although he appreciates that the fee adjustments are long overdue; they are on the higher side considering Malawi’s economy where salaries and wages have remained low for the majority of employees.

“On that basis mature entry students will find it difficult to raise money. This is why calls for having clear (fees) adjustment plan would make planning process effective. This will have negative social economic consequences,” Kondowe said.

But the government remains adamant on the ‘fees must fall’ calls currently flooding the social media, saying the cost of running the colleges is high.

Speaking to the local media recently, Education Minister, Emmanuel Fabiano vehemently defended the government’s fee hike.

“But if you take the University of Malawi, currently the minimum cost for some of the programmes is about K2.8 million per student per annum and other programmes are costing as much as K5 million per student per annum and what the students are currently paying in the University of Malawi, which is K275, 000 is way below even 10 percent of the cost of their tuition,” said Fabiano.

The colleges’ demonstrations have exposed police brutality where some police officers were captured on a video clip beating ruthlessly helpless and unarmed female students. Dismayed by the sad scenario, the Malawi Law Society has intervened to help the victims in a bid to ensure that the responsible police officers face the law.

Malawians are currently facing serious economic hardships characterized by the ever increasing prices of goods, rising cost of living, acute drug shortages, food crisis, erratic water supply, persistent power outages, government’s insatiable and careless appetite for borrowing, high inflation and bank lending rates among others.

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20 thoughts on “Kunkuyu ramp up pressure on Mutharika: ‘University of Malawi fees must fall’”

  1. kudzolowera ya ulere, Chakwera ndi Kunkuyu Kabwira.kkkkkkkkkkk

  2. generally says:

    Mgoloso unaleka standard chani?

  3. Mgift says:

    High Education for rich people ana aMaministers Ma Mps osauka onse no more higher Education, zoti ndiwakwathu ndiwumburi.

  4. mbuyuni says:

    Correction, the third statement should read: if he says he has reversed…….

  5. mbuyuni says:

    We are waiting for the day the president will preside over the graduation ceremony. He says he has reversed the fee hike, we will match again. Why? We have so many reasons. The best reason is he is undecided. Because if we much to ask him to raise it again he will do it. If it was an equation is will mean we have no president in Malawi

  6. Mbande says:

    The most passive president Malawi has ever had. Remember when he was education minister, he hibernated during academic freedom saga. And when he was Foreign affairs minister, he slept when the British envoy was declared persona non grata. Now he is the president, he can only come out when it’s on bbc. The hyena issue of lower Shire. Malawi is a failed state state with a tried and failed leader then as minister, and now as president

  7. Paul says:

    Walira m’bvula! welcome to Economics 101.
    So much money plundered at little justice to citizens and yet so many hungry mouths within the economy require feeding! Adds up to a very nasty lesson!

  8. Mika Kumbire says:

    Koma list ya ma hardship yo?? “”Government’s insatiable and careless appetite for borrowing”” is this a hardship or cause of hardship?? Kikikikikiki; Ubwino poti ambiri sawerengatu!!

  9. big boy says:

    Please southerners,love your country by avoiding voting munthu wakwanu Ku south. All these problems are man made.

  10. Kanthu Ako! says:

    What is wrong with this country?

    When the price of oil goes up, min bus fares, and the prices of everything including those that have nothing to do with oil go up.

    When shop workers demand more pay, goods in shops go up

    When fuel prices go up driving instructors demand more for giving lessons

    It appears there is always a cause and result.

    We value our lives, so we pay more for whatever.

    What I do not understand is, University lecturers demand more pay (200%) Lecturers teach students, Education will help students have a better future, hence hopefully the nation have a better future.

    University hikes fees by (55%) students refuse to pay.

    If government gives in, and does not raise fees, Lecturers will say that is a sign government has money, therefore give us 200% now.

    Lecturers go on strike, and students support lecturers’ strike.

    Year ends, none of the students has paid the higher fees, none of the students has learned anything because lecturers are on strike caused by students refusal to pay higher fees, the lecturers still get paid their old salary, for doing nothing, the students have also paid their old fees, University has not increased lecturer’s salary.

    I think everybody is a winner. (We all have got what we wanted)

  11. Yakobo says:

    Zamkutu

  12. Bristone Mabichi says:

    Mukhululukireni president saziwa chomwe achita, wachingidwa ndi mbava za kashigeti. Tinazolowera kale, tiyeni nazoni. Ife aMalawi tulo, …

  13. generally says:

    Comment ya cadet sisowa. Apanso Pali chonyozera? I thought the guy is only trying to advise and put sense in the authorities? Ma cadet opepera

  14. Okey tamva says:

    Za zii…

  15. nyo says:

    kuzolowera kutenga boma through back door

    1. Mapwevupwevu says:

      Kikikiki! Wombwambwana ameneyu! Akuwona ngati uyunso afa kuti abwelere kukhala minister!

      1. mgoloso says:

        No wonder, politicians in Malawi take advantage of umbuli wa a Malawi – Kunkuyu unali kuti? Tatibweretsere amai kaye usanayambe zakozo.

        Fees in Private Universities is so high and nobody is complaining, why public universities should NOT raise fees. Who told you that Education is cheap?. Mukufuna fees yochepa koma mudzidya ngati njobvu. Kuzolowera zopatsidwa basi – munya muona.

        Katengeni ngongole ku Board yowona za ngongole ya maphunziro.

        1. International Observer says:

          All that is happening in the country is sheer ignorance. Travel and observe what others are doing in order to lead a better life. This business of Freebies has corrupted minds of every Malawian, possibly the other factor is laziness. What Kanthu Ako has mentioned is the fault of those organization that are there to help the state mitigate uncalled for practices. The Consumers Association has a responsibility to check costs of commodities on the market from both retail and wholesale outlets that its tallying with the existing GDP. Prices of things should be the same as long as those items are being sold on Malawian soil. But instead of doing all that what the association does is only organizing demonstrations against the state when apparently they are meant to be partners in all spheres of social wellbeing of the citizenry. At the end of the day you start asking simple questions like: What is the job specification of ‘The Consumers Association?’; What is it there for? It is answerable to whom? Is it a pressure group or political entity?
          The simplest thing the Government can do concerning these ‘Anti-social fracas’ by university students is to meanwhile close the National Colleges, at an appropriate time reopen them with conditions, like those wishing to go back need to reapply after reading and accepting to follow laid down policies, regulations and laws whose infringement will forthrightly mean a dismissal without conditions. In the western world where freedom and democracy originated, students do not behave in such a manner. The students themselves are very responsible people who basically are in campuses solely to attain a qualification and nothing else. Reasons are that most facilities are run by private organizations as business entities whose services are paid for by the consumers – meaning no payment no service. As long as Malawi government clings to administering all those amenities, these problems will be there for ever. There are a lot of people in Malawi who are craving for businesses, let them run those facilities and see where these unceasing freebies will come from. On catering, let them use the same appliances on hire until they will be able to fend on their own, likewise any other services that will be run privately.

    2. Benyanga Zyola says:

      Sometimes I don’t understand how humans behave. honorable Fabiano has forgotten that if were not for Kamuzu to subsidise his fees he Fabiano wouldn’t have reached where he is now. Kamuzu never compared with what is happening elsewhere but only had welfare of his people at heart. Koma ma politicians atu awa dyela too much.

    3. triple c says:

      Pitala the useless president I have ever seen in my life!! he cannot think, talk, walk…. what does he do???? drinking whisky shit!!!!

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