Chancellor College students Wednesday morning presented their petition to the District Commissioner for Zomba Harry Phiri to be presented to President Joyce Banda for action on the hiked school fees in the University of Malawi.
In the petition the students have expressed deep concern over the increase over the tuition fees.
The march was dominated by anti-president Joyce Banda chants with students chanting: “ Amayi-wa, bola a Bingu! Amayi-wa, bola a Bingu! Amayi-wa, bola a Bingu” literally translated ‘this woman is worse than Bingu’.
Recently the University Council increased the fees by almost 150 percent for both government sponsored and self-sponsored students from K 25 000.00 to K 55 000.00 and from an average of K 100 000.00 to K 250 000.00 respectively.
In the petition the students are complaining about the Council’s failure to inform them in advance about the increase.
According to the petition dated 24/10/2012 signed by Student Union President, Patrick Phiri said the raising of the fees was ill-timed coming barely a week before opening of the college saying this has caused problems to many students to register.
“The University of Malawi has a policy which states that, ‘No Fees, No Registration’. The policy has been practically translated to mean that students have to pay half of the fees before being registered.
“The problem comes in since the students came here prepared to pay at least K 12,500.00 before registering for their studies, but were notified just in a week’s time to be prepared to pay K 27,500.00, an amount which is more than the previous expected fees for the whole year.” Phiri explains in the petition addressed to the State President with copies to the Vice Chancellor, Minister of Education and the Principal of Chancellor College.
The students have also lamented the failure for the authorities to find alternative sources for student’s loans after Malawi Savings Bank stopped providing loans to the students.
Student’s representatives failed to present the petition to University Council officials after being told that they were busy preparing for the forthcoming graduation ceremony slated for the weekend.
They students also praised former president the late Bingu wa Mutharika for doing his best to force the University authorities to reduce the tuition fees when they increased it.
he students walked from Chancellor College to the District Commissioner’s office with heavy presence of police officers most of them not armed with lethal weapons.
Zomba District Commissioner, Harry Phiri received the petition and assured the students the letter will be forwarded to the authorities by the end of the day.
He also pleaded with the students not to turn the peaceful march into anarchy where people’s property could be destroyed.
Chancellor College has been the centre of controversy during the academic freedom saga between government and lectures when the college was closed for nearly a year.
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