Chakwera challenges UNIMA to maintain standards; Founder Kamuzu Banda had a great vision in founding UNIMA

President Lazarus Chakwera has challenged the University of Malawi (UNIMA) to maintain high standards as it undergoes delinking process.

Speaking at Chancellor College during the virtual graduation where only 73 with distinction graduates physically attended, Chakwera said UNIMA founder, former President Dr Hastings Kamuzu Banda had a great vision, which was to make Malawian education competitive to the world.

He said UNIMA was as such, founded to offer education that would capacitate graduates with knowledge that would make them outclass others even those from developed countries.

“We must at all-times strive to maintain the high standards that were set by the founding father of UNIMA. Even now that we are delinking, we must ensure the standards are not compromised.”

President Chakwera presiding over graduation.

The President said quality education provides room for a country to unlock doors for its growth.

He said most developed countries used their education to realize the great potential they had for their social economic development.

“We must use education to transform this country by generating wealth, improve our health system and infrastructural development,” Chakwera said.

The President said he was personally impressed with the delinking process because it offers more access to tertiary education and added that for a successful transition, it required sacrifice and dedication from all parties concerned.

The Ministry of Education has gazetted May 4, 2021 to be the commencement date for Acts of Parliament NOs 18, 19 and 20 of 2019, that delinked UNIMA into three universities — UNIMA; Malawi University of Business and Applied Sciences (MUBAS) and Kamuzu University of Health Sciences (KUHES).

Capital Hill has since appointed a new steering committee to complete the delinking process and operationalization of the new universities —comprising Professor Emmanuel Kaunda (chairperson), Dr. Philip Kaonda, Dr. Tasokwa Kakota-Chibowa, Dr. Asyatu Chaweza, Dr. Macphall Magwira and the Director of Higher Education in the Ministry of Education.

Government resolved to delink Polytechnic, Kamuzu College of Nursing and College of Medicine from UNIMA to, among others, increase access to higher education and improve governance and operational efficiency in public universities in the country — which Parliament approved in 2019.

The restructuring of the colleges is significant in enhancing education growth, among them high standards of academic leadership, financial independence, strong and world-class research as well as world-class academia.

The delinking of the three universities is the second after Bunda College of Agriculture was delinked from UNINA and was merged with Natural Resources College to form Lilongwe University of Agriculture and Natural Resources (LUANAR).

Acting UNIMA Vice-Chancellor, Prof Alfred Mtenje said the university would always fight for better and quality education, saying they are engaged in a number of projects that aims at improving the quality education.

“UNIMA has kept on growing and the delinking due next week Tuesday is one such a symbol of growth. It is worth mentioning that we have several projects within the university all aimed at improving the education standard.”

Mtenje further said UNIMA has started offering online studies as one way of keeping education accessible during this CoVID-19 pandemic.

UNIMA Council chairperson, Prof. Jack Wirima said even though the university was growing by giving birth to other colleges, quality of education would always be of paramount.

Unima graduation

This is the first graduation ceremony to be held virtually by UNIMA and about 1,852 students graduated with degrees, diplomas and certificates. Out of the total, 1,103 were male and 749 female.

Meanwhile, the Ministry of Education says as the process for delinking the UNIMA is under process, selection of students into public universities will from this year include the new arrangement and thus advises applicants to check and familiarize themselves with the new codes for courses under the new universities.

The Ministry advises the student applicants to check with the three separate entities on the courses they will soon produce set for the forthcoming selection process that will be harmonized by the National Council of Higher Education (NCHE).

For enquiries, the applicant students or their parents and wards are advised to contact Dr. Lewis Keliyasi Eneya, Director of Higher Learning at the Ministry of Education on 0993 881 933 or email: [email protected]—(Additional reporting by Duncan Mlanjira)

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