The Legal Affairs Committee of parliament has sent to the drawing board the new University Bill, which was scheduled for debate during the current sitting of parliament, saying it had several flaws.
Basically, the Committee agreed with various stakeholders, among them the Chancellor College Academic Staff Union (CCASU), which noted that the Bill is rather poorly drafted, full of internal contradictions, technical flaws, and other defects that the academic community would not be proud to be associated with.
The proposed University of Malawi Bill (2012) if passed would have replaced the current University of Malawi Act.
The Committee’s chair Kezzie Msukwa said the Bill will not be tabled during the current sitting but later after through consultations with various stakeholders.
A few days ago CCASU petitioned government on the Bill saying it did not have the best interests of the University and the principle of the autonomy of institutions of higher learning.
“Upon thorough examination and discussion…CCASU takes a resolute and vigilant stand against this Bill. CCASU and other key stakeholders in the University were not consulted during the formulation of the Bill and, if passed in its present state, it would be another example of a bad law,” CCASU President Sunduzwayo Madise said.
The CCASU President observed that the Bill is a project to downgrade the autonomy of the University, which threatens academic freedom, exemplified by the enhanced roles of the Chancellor and the Minister in the operations of the University.
While the Civil Society Education Coalition (CSEC) also criticized the Bill saying it had the potential to politicize the university and compromise the provision of tertiary education.