Mutharika bows to pressure, reduces Malawi university fees amid protests

The protests has paid off. President Peter Mutharika has swallowed his pride as Chancellor of the Universiity of Malawi and agreed to reduce college fees by K50,000 across the board.

President meeting students

President meeting students

President Mutharika meeting student union leaders

President Mutharika meeting student union leaders

Mutharika met in camera 15 student union leaders from all the four public universities following the violent protests at Chancellor College which swiftly spread to other University of Malawi constituent colleges.

While he was meeting the students, civil society organisations (CSOs) led by Youth and Society staged their demonstrations in solidarity with students, calling on government to suspend the fees hike the university council recently announced and re-open Chancellor College.

Mutharika told the students the University of Malawi Council raised the fees in a bid to raise the dwindling university education standards. He therefore ordered that the fees be reduced by K50, 000 for both generic and mature students.

“I am glad that the students chose dialogue for us to find a balanced solution. But I also know that there are some who want to use fees as an excuse for their own politics,” said President Mutharika in a social media statement after the meeting.

“The meeting has been fruitful in that we have made several resolutions; some of them being that the proposed fees structures be reduced by K50,000 across the board.

“I have committed to talk to the council to effect an immediate re-opening of Chancellor College so that the academic calendar should not be interrupted,” Mutharika said.

The proclaimation by the President seemed to have excited the student leaders who were within the comfort zone of Mutharika.

However, civil right group leaders who braved the summer sun in Blantyre, Zomba, Lilongwe and Mzuzu to make protest matches received the news with mixes feelings.

Most of them felt Mutharika’s offer came too late and too little, saying they were going back to the drawing board.

In June 2016, Unima’s university council announced it had adjusted upwards contributory fees in all its constituent colleges.

The development sparked a national-wide disapproval, especially from the university’s students, who feel a majority of Malawians cannot afford to pay the newly announced amount of fees.

Following announcement of the new fees, Chancellor College students demonstrated against the move which led to indefinite closure of the institution by the authorities.

In Mzuzu, about a score of members of CSOs, led by Youth and Society together with students from various learning institutions, took to the street to demonstrate against the same and present a petition to State President under heavy police presence which out-numbered the petitioners.

Youth and Society Director, Charles Kajoloweka, presented the petition to President through Mzuzu City’s Chief Executive, Macloud Kadam’manja.

Among other things, the petition highlighted problems facing the country and grounds for their disapproval of the fees hike. The petition also called on government to revisit the fees adjustments.

“It is our considered view that education as a right only makes sense when it is available, accessible, affordable and of good quality to all Malawians,” reads part of the petition.

The petition also warns of private learning institutions further increasing their tuition fees following UNIMA’s move, saying only dialogue should take centre stage rather than closing the learning institutions.

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11 thoughts on “Mutharika bows to pressure, reduces Malawi university fees amid protests”

  1. Mtchona says:

    I thought the K50,000 reduction is per term which will be K150,000 per year?

    1. tchingo says:

      In college it’s semester…and 50g reduction is per year.

  2. Phillipo Banda says:

    Is the reduction of fees by K50,000.00 worthy all that noise and demos, Is there any significant change here…………………………………………………..

  3. Johnny says:

    Mwina chingerezi choti ‘K50,000.00 across the board’ chaticheza ambiri. Hahahahahahaha

  4. Kakhome says:

    Decisions made by dunderhead will always reflect as such. What will K50,000 reduction do? You have failed to govern, just move out. Even Bakili wosaphunzira uja could not have made such mediocre decisions. Reducing an increase instead of looking at what the increase should be. Mbuli zophunzira, no sociology and no psychology and no humanity and no guts at all

  5. Mvithe says:

    Pali polobulemu apa, tifuna maphunziro abwino, koma opanda dollar yotukulira maphunzirowo. Ndale ndi zimene zachuluka apa. Omwewo ophunzirawo amalipila ndalama vinandi ku ma nursery, private pulaimale, ndi private Sekondale kufuna maphunziro abwino. Palibe nzeru apa. Komanso boma lakhazikitsa thumba lothandidzira osowa malipiro a ku univeresite monga zichitikira maiko ena kuno ku Afilika ndi kwina. Bwana Puluzidenti, mwalondola kukamnirana nawo ophunzirawo, imene a Kamuzu ankati ‘Contact and Dialouge’.

  6. Mzuzu says:

    hahaha

  7. The Analyst says:

    O…………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………….O
    When will APM ever be practical? . . .
    . . . So for APM, K50,000 will make the remainder, affordable? Ha! This is a joke! But its not funny!
    . . . Does he even understand by how much the fees were raised in the first place? I bet he doesnt!
    . . . If APM had, even the slightest understanding of the issue at hand; he could have known that the issue is about fee increment, not fee reduction coz the protested fee was never agreed upon, in the first place.
    . . . Thus, the language he could have used is “we have raised the fees by 25% or 30%, osati “we have reduced it by 50 pin iai; coz though the two are on the same coin; the shape of this coin is different.
    …………………………………………………………………….
    Whats known, however; is that, “Mistakes are forgivable if one has the courage to admit them.” – Bruce Lee
    . . . The University Council made a mistake by keeping fees way too low, for too long. They should accept this.
    Enafe, we paid K25 pin per year. Although this was a lot (at that time); the fee was never raised for all the 4 years.
    . . . Now, does it make any molecule of sense for the Council to slap the current crop of students with a portion of fee-increment which should have been imposed on some of us? Coz this is exactly whats its doing! Not fair!
    . . . Let the fee increase gradually 25% or 30% or whatever per annum, for the next 5 years, then hold it there.
    O……………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………..O

  8. AYUBA JOHN says:

    WHAT A WASTE OF TIME FOR THE SO CALLED STUDENT LEADERS. FROM 900,000 TO 850,000. WHY DIDN’T YOU JUST ACCEPT THAT FEES SHOULD BE RAISED.

  9. Mwananyanian says:

    One good step Mr President; but not enough to make university education in this country affordable, by any stretch. We are not asking for free education, even though only a decade ago that was the case, but we are only asking for affordability.
    I hope the students came back with assurance that next year and in future, these fees will reflect the level of “wealth” and disposable income (OR LACK THEREOF) among the parents and guardians of the majority of students.
    It is plain unacceptable to have, evidently, the large numbers of students dropping out because they cannot afford the fees, and/or the necessary upkeep. The evidence is stark regarding the dropout rate; and the repercussions for the future of our society are not just conjecture.
    Mr President, if this trend continues, we took one step forward, but by next year, we’ll be two steps back already. That’s not the legacy any very President, let alone a very educated one, like you, should strive for.
    More reductions in the fees, PLEASE. Maybe every year for the next few years.
    Do NOT forget students’ and their supporters, especially in the villages, are an important voting block. And even in areas where DPP reins supreme, bao players are not happy with this fiasco. They are saying things like “we didn’t expect this from one of our own educated and traveled son, APM,”
    How about that?

  10. Issa says:

    Mwakasungula and his friends were supporting fees hike, what will they say now? It is a stupid person who claps for a mad man. This is like Kaliyati saying the president did not say you should be eating rats, only for Peter to come back and say I meant what I said. Mwakasungula and Kaliyati are mad dogs making strange noise.

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