Malawi’s flagship newspaper, The Daily Times, has in its editorial comment on Monday edition hailed Lilongwe University of Agriculture and Natural Resources (Luanar) for its self-sustaiing approach after it managed to raise K21 billion from research projects and consultancies in the past four years.
Luanar was established four years ago after Bunda College of Agriculture was delinked from the University of Malawi.
Since the delink, Luanar has published 366 papers in international journal and raised a lot of funds from research with at least 10 percent going to the university purse.
The university’s Vice Chancellor Professor George Kanyama Phiri said the institution is also investing the money to construct accommodation for students, improve ICT infrastructure, a key beacon in growing modern education.
By raising K21 billion from consultancies and research, Luanar has been hailed for its ambitious program to produce relevant graduate with entrepreneurship skills for agricultural growth, food security, wealth creation and sustainable natural resources management through teaching, training, research, outreach, consultancy and sound management.
In their editorial caomment, The Daily Times said the Luanar story is “unique” and “encouraging.”
The paper urges other public universities to emulate the gesture demonstrated by Luanar.
“They have to think outside the box because Luanar is demonstrating that it can be independent of state funds,” reads the editorial comment.
The daily, however urged government to lead the talk in backing research activities done by Malawians in their projects that are aimed at dealing with hunger, economy and education.
“It is time to rethink and invest our energy in research activities,” the paper said.
Meanwhile, Prof Kanyama said Luanar is in the process of finalising construction of a teaching complex and an administration complex.
Kanyama saud Luanar is leasing out some of its land to interested private investors who can construct student hostels.
“We can only accommodate about 700 while the rest outsource accommodation in near-by villages like Chilowa and Mitundu. This is not conducive to learning.”
Kanyama Phiri strongly believes that hostels are “a quick money spinner.”
He said: “Interested investors can come and construct some hostels under a lease in public-private partnerships (PPP).
“Luanar is also already in talks with some South Africa Property Consultancy firm to help ease the accommodation woes through a ‘Build, Operate and Transfer arrangement’. Under such an arrangement, the private sector builds an infrastructure project, operates it and eventually transfers ownership of the project to the government.”Follow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :