DPP dismayed with PP for abandoning Bingu’s 6 universities

Former governing Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) queried Minister of Finance Ken Lipenga on why government is not putting a financial allocation to six universities which late president Bingu wa Mutharika had announced to build.

DPP leader in the House, George Chaponda, told Parliament that he disappointed with government of President Mrs. Joyce Banda for abandoning the plans to build six more universities in a decade – starting with a science university, whose construction has already begun, thanks to a loan from China – in order to accommodate many students who seek to continue tertiary education.

Chaponda, former education minister, was making a contribution in the national budget vote allocation for Ministry of Education.

Chaponda: Dismayed

He said the plan to build six universities was hatched in order to accommodate many students.

Late Mutharika proposed the construction of Malawi University of Science and Technology (MUST) at Ndata Farm in Thyolo, University of Bangula in Chikhwawa, University of Marine Biology in Mangochi, Mombera University in Mzimba, Lilongwe University of Agriculture and Natural Resources and Nkhotakota University in Nkhotakota.

Chaponda said President Banda “promised in his State opening of Parliament “to adopt all important projects that were being pursued by the late Mutharika.”

The lawmaker however said it is to DPP “dismay” to note that the allocation to the ministry of education is containing no funds for the construction of the universities.

“As a country, we have agreed to abolish the quota system, so we are worried that this budget is not taking any positive strides towards creating more space in our tertiary institution,” Chaponda said.

Finance Minister Lipenga said “funding to those universities will be reflected in future budgets because these projects are for ten years.”

A World Bank report on higher education recently warned low- and middle-income countries  like Malawi to resist the temptation to establish world-class universities … before educating their own citizens to high tertiary standards.

The report titled: “The Road to Academic Excellence: The Making of World-Class Research Universities” charts the experiences of 11 leading public and private research universities in nine countries from Africa, Asia, Latin America, and Eastern Europe.

The report says that not every country needs comprehensive world-class universities, at least not while more fundamental tertiary education needs are not being met.

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