Mzuzu University (Mzuni) students have to sit back and strategize on what will keep them busy for the next couple of months or so following the institution’s council admission that there are currently no resources to effect a salary hike.
Both Mzuni academic and non-academic staff unions are demanding a 35 per cent salary increase but Council has admitted that it has “no access” to additional funds for a salary increase.
Mzuni students were forced to leave campus on November 7 and have been home for over a week.
The strike has, among others, disturbed the university’s academic calendar and the postponement of this year’s graduation ceremony.
Mzuni management says that government had directed that it could not include salary increases within its budget and that no provision was made for a salary increase as far as the 2016/2017 budget was concerned.
“Staff unions are requesting a pay increase of 35 per cent, which would cost an additional MK1.5 billion. No resources are available in the Mzuzu University budget to cover such an amount,” confesses the statement.
According to Nyasa Times’ understanding, resources for such might only be available via a miracle or be provided for in next year’s budget.
The Council said it continues to consult with all different stakeholders to see if there is a way to resolve the dispute.
It has appealed to staff to keep in mind “our institutional obligations to provide teaching and learning for students and to contribute to national development and, despite the current economic challenges, to return to work.”
Mzuzu University Student Representative Council (MUSREC) president Katatu Wazamazama has described the whole situation as a “blow.”
Several non-governmental organizations have weighed in on the fracas calling on government to bring sanity to the saga.
Meanwhile, Mzuni vice chancellor Robert Ridley has announced that his institution is exploring longer-term plans to broaden its revenue base and improve the institution’s resource envelope in a drive to make the institution self-sustaining in the long run.
Ridley is quoted in the local press saying that they are considering venturing into various forms of income generating activities, including construction of a hospitality skills development centre at Dunduzu that will have a conference room, conference centre facilities.
“And that will also provide opportunity for separate income streams for the university,” stated Ridley.
“And also with funding from development partners, we are expanding our distance learning. We are establishing four satellite learning centres in Karonga, Balaka, Mulanje and one in Lilongwe. That will provide opportunity for offering various types of courses to students on part-time students whilst generating income for the university,” he added.Follow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :