“No to fee increase!” Students from College of Medicine, constituent college of University of Malawi (Unima), have joined other Unima constituent colleges that have publicly protested proposed fee increase, saying they will boycott classes when the school opens next month.
The medicine students have called the increase in student fees from K400 000 to K 600 000 after being increased from K55 000/275 000 per academic year for generic students and from K350 000 to K900 000 and K1.4 million respectively for mature students disgusting.
University of Malawi spokesperson, Peter Mitunda, had ruled out the possibility of the fee hike being reversed, as the institution could only provide quality education if it had enough money.
But in a letter to all students, College of Medicine Students Union (Comsu) is urging them not to report when the college opens at the beginning of 2016/17 academic calendar on August 8 for the foundation students and August 15 for the continuing students or pay tuition fees until misunderstandings on fees hike are resolved.
Reporting for school will mean that the student from College of Medicine will be the first Unima students to pay the new fees and they believe doing so would interfere with all negotiations aimed at convincing the Unima council to reverse its decision, according to Comsu letter dated July 27, 2016 and signed by Comsu president Francis Makiya and Publications Director Vitumbiko Phiri.
Makiya said Comsu had a meeting with class representatives where it was discussed and agreed that it is necessary for them to join hands in resolving the issue of school fees.
“Higher education is a key to personal as well as national development. Each one of us has a role to play in efforts being done to make sure that Unima fees is at a reasonable amount so that Malawians who are intelligent and deserving can afford tertiary education,” said the Comsu president.
“We should be aware that if CoM opens and some students pay the hiked fees, then that is the end of the battle and it will mean we have given in to the demands of the university council and this will be a big betrayal to our needy brothers and sisters who their future is being shuttered due to poor policies in this hard hit economic time,” he added.
Makiya further said in the 2015/2016 academic year while the students were paying K55 000 and 275 000 respectively, there was about 33 students at CoM who were on the verge of withdrawing.
The students were bailed out by the president Peter Mutharika after he directedthe Treasury to release fresh funds to rescue needy students in the country’s public colleges.