The plight of University of Malawi’s Chanco education students

The University of Malawi has been losing its reputation of late. Unnecessary administrative scuffles, student demonstrations and poor funding are not uncommon. Its graduates too are half-baked; at least, that’s what employers out there are alleging.

And, then, there is this one matter that hasn’t received much attention and publicity. It has been safely tucked away in the vast mist of Unima’s troubles. The lone voices that could take this matter out for public opinion have been promised things would be OK very soon. But everything remains pathetically pretentious, it hurts.

When President Joyce Banda ‘graduated’ students who had successfully accomplished their studies with Unima constituent colleges last October, she was mindful of the fact that Chancellor College Bachelor of Education students were not included in the book of graduands. It was understandable. You can’t graduate, unless you have finished your studies at a particular level.

The president passionately informed the nation that those that had not been included on the list of graduands should not worry. I don’t know if she continued following her own concern immediately after the ceremony – where she was christened Unima’s Chancellor. Because if she did, she would know that almost two months after they finished their Teaching Practice, Education students haven’t yet received their final results.

Chanco campus

Chanco campus

She would follow – of course, maybe, through the right personnel – the tentative date of the next graduation she, or the Vice Chancellor, would preside over. Well, she is a busy president, and has too many policy papers strewn on her desk. Lesser authorities can handle the Education students’ exam results and inform her that it’s finally a done deal waiting for when she would be ready to preside over a next graduation ceremony, if she has space, which I believe she doesn’t.But the administration at Chancellor College is still sitting on Education students’ results as if afraid the college is producing too many graduates. It’s pretty strange that the results which were allegedly submitted to college management weeks before – after a faculty level assessment – haven’t yet been considered for release. We know a senate assessment isn’t a big fuss.

While some of their colleagues from other faculties that they entered college together have found jobs with their degrees, Education students can’t even land themselves some part-time assignments because they have no formal backing. Employers can’t just trust them. After all, it is a traditional trend that soon after their results are out, Education students are supposed to be posted to different secondary schools, meaning they have their jobs cut and dried.

But Chanco has chosen to keep the students waiting for as long as it will take. In the previous years, TP results took just weeks to be released. Now the trend is changing. Every administrator has to have his own policies, and one of them is to turn the conventional predictions around and let things be viewed from a different angle.

No one knows why Education students’ final results are being withheld. No one knows why students who have been in college for some extra two years continue being treated with such malice. Well, someone must know. Someone knows and should be doing that for a better reason. Or, simply to show that they have power to do whatever they please.

The students have even reached the extent of drawing out different theories. That’s exactly what happens with frustrated people. They find solace in maxims and theories. They believe that government doesn’t have enough money to be paying another bunch of civil servants and intends to accumulate some funds first before advising Chanco to release the results of Education students who should subsequently be assigned to different secondary schools.

It could be an outlandish theory. But, if you choose to believe it, it makes sense. Otherwise what can make a whole college administration fail to mobilise relevant ways of making sure final results of slightly above 150 students are treated with the urgency that they deserve.

Creating so many complications about a small matter is one undoing of administrators. A college administrator is an academic administrator. Academic administrators ought to be shrewd and quick in matters that call for urgency. Why is this not the case with Chanco administrators?

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