Students of the University of Malawi (Unima) have given authorities up to November 1 as a deadline to reverse a decision to hike fees from K55,000 to K275,000 and threatened that they will be forced to go into the streets if the 400 percent fee hike is maintained.
According to Unima Council, the hike is aimed at improving tertiary education whose poor standards have been attributed to inadequate resources, among other factors.
But Alexious Kamangila, secretary general of the students union, said the hiked should be revered and that students want an overhaul of the loan scheme that helps students pay the fees.
He said Unima should expect trouble if the new fees are implemented.
Chancellor College Students Union (Succ) president Chipulumutso Asabuni wondered why Unima has brought back the issue of hiking fees, arguing it was rejected when President Peter Mutharika was Minister of Education and the current Minister of Education, Emmanuel Fabiano, was Unima Vice-Chancellor.
Polytechnic Students Union (PSU) president Owen Chikoti said Malawi Polytechnic students have put their foot down and are not going to accept the fees hike.
“Our stand is that we will not accept any fees hike because it is not justifiable. They are saying that education standards will be improved if the fees are increased, but the truth is that inadequacy of money is not the only factor that is contributing to low quality of education within Unima,” said Chikoti.
According to what Kamangila told Sunday Times newspaper, the students are also demanding that government should establish an agency that will ensure graduates pay back loans within three years.
He said these were the last efforts the students were giving government, saying “as leaders, we have and still are avoiding demos because they have adverse effects to our academics as we suffer and lose more.”
Millions of kwachas remain uncollected from defaulting graduates who feel there is no need to pay back the loans and most of them cannot be traced.
The new fees hike will leave students from rich families affording the fees, while the poor will find it tough to pay.
Unima registrar Wokomaatani Malunga and his Assistant Akuzike Maliwichi as well as Professor Mtenje could not be drawn to comment on the development.Follow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :