Bishop Professor John Ryan of Mzuzu Diocese of the Catholic Church has challenged the government to listen to concerns over quota system of selecting students into Malawi’s public universities.
A number of sectors criticised the system, arguing it was discriminatory in nature and perceived as a tool for suppressing students from other corners of the country, who were deemed to be having a lion’s share in the public universities.
Speaking when Mzuzu Diocese handed over a primary school block worth K48 million, in Mawende Village, Traditional Authority (T/A) Mtwalo, Mzimba District with funding from German-based organisation Chancern Duch Bildung, Ryan said quota system sidelines deserving students from accessing university education.
“I was a teacher for many years and it pains me to see a student, who has done well in his/her studies, failing to reach tertially education because of the district they come from. Selection of students should be based on ability and capacity,” said Ryan.
The Bishop said denying learners opportunities to further their studies leads them into early marriages which results in high lleracy levels and over population.
“One of the problems in rural Malawi is early marriages, but if children are left to continue with their education it helps prepare them for life. If they get educated and find a job, they are in better position to make sound decisions,” Ryan said.
Mmeber of Parliament for the constituency, Harry Mkadawire, the country need to get rid of the controversial quota system of selecting students to public universities, saying it is “evil”.
State vice-president Saulos Chilima who is leading United Transformation Movement (UTM) is on record saying if voted Head of State next year, his administration will come up with a policy to ensure that government supports universities owned by religious groups to increase access to higher education and abolish quoat system.
Chilima said in doing so, there will be enough space for students across the country and in turn end the quota system.
He said said promoting quota – which demands public institutions of higher learning to select a designated number of students based on their district of origin – brings about divisions among Malawians.