Spare a thought for students in the University of Malawi who were supposed to graduate in 2014 but they are still in college courtesy of the 2011 ‘academic freedom’ impasse. Such students are spending a fifth year in college on their four-year degree programme.
With this latest university impasse such students will add another year to their five years of being on campus. What justice is that?
Look, during the good old days, university education was virtually free. But going to college these days literally cost an arm and a leg. Students are paying for food and accommodation.
At Chancellor College, for example, Malawi Housing Corporation flats cost K18,000 per student/per month. In the nearby township of Chikanda, an average room costs around K10,000. The students pay for these rooms regardless of whether the college is open or not.
Add to that the fact that some of the students are adults who have gone back to school to upgrade their qualifications. Some of them are primary school teachers, policemen et cetera. This means they took leave of absence from their places of work.
Surely these frequent and prolonged closures are not doing them any justice. Some may even lose their jobs or degrees if you get my drift.
We are lucky we have a forty-year veteran university don as our president. Surely the Chancellor of the University of Malawi, Prof. Peter Arthur Mutharika, understands the folly of reading for a four-year programme in six years.
Let us solve these frequent closures and elongation of semesters once and for all. They are making the University of Malawi look ugly. No wonder we do not appear anywhere among the Top 50 universities in Africa, that is a shame for a country that has produced some of the continent’s most illustrious sons and daughters too numerous for the Muckraker to list.