Mzuni lecturer talks tough on discipline, academic standards

Mzuzu University’s (Mzuni) associate professor Golden Msilimba has admitted that the behavior of students in the country’s institutions of higher learning is deplorable, arguing that it is chiefly contributing towards youth unemployment in Malawi.

Msilimba made the observation Saturday in Mzuzu during a forum organized by Youth and Society (YAS) under the banner: Youth Unemployment in Malawi – A Crisis?

“Our students forget that that their would-be employers see them in the streets when they insult innocent passers-by and indulge in all sorts of indecent behaviors. No one would want to have such employees in their offices,” said Msilimba.

The academic, who is also dean of the faculty of education at Mzuni, said combating the students’ licentious behaviours needs collective effort.

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“Universities are trying,” he said. “Mzuni has come up with a student affairs office, comprising the dean of students and the students’ affairs registrar, whose aim is to check on the welfare of students including their discipline.”

He added: “But parents should take keen interest in the behaviour of their children. How many parents check on their children in the universities?”

According to Msilimba, another reason that is responsible for the youth unemployment crisis in Malawi is the mismatch that exists between the education policy that was devised to check on the quality and relevance of material being offered in the country’s universities and the resources that are directed towards them.

“There’s a problem with standards,” he said.

“Most of the programmes we offer are relevant, but the quality is poor,” he added. “We offer a lot of science disciplines in our universities but look at the quality of our laboratories. They are very pitiful.”

Msilimba called on government to conduct a ‘needs assessment’ that would help map way forward on the quality of the education universities are offering.

He said another setback responsible for the unemployment of youthful graduates is the lack of entrepreneurship in the curricula.

“We’ve omitted entrepreneurship in our curriculum such that our youths think that the only good jobs they can do are office jobs,” he observed.

During the forum – whose panellists were youth activist Andrew Longwe, African Enterprise Mission (AEM) deputy national director Tiyane Nyirenda, TEVETA Regional Service Manager Conceptor Bamusi and Mzuni lecturer Crispine Mphande – YAS director Charles Kajoloweka bemoaned the lack of attention the country’s leaders are showing towards youth unemployment.

“Our leaders think that this [youth unemployment] is not even a problem at all and they are casting a blind eye on it. It is high time we stood up as youths and asked for our jobs,” said Kajoloweka.

According to statistics youths comprise 60 per cent of the Malawi population. However, Studies have shown that over 70 per cent of the youths in the country are without unemployment.

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