Fracas at Skyway University, students seek court redress over exams

Fracas erupted Friday afternoon at Skyway University in Blantyre when some students engaged in a fight with administration personnel during a protest the scholars staged following a discovery that the  college duped them on their tuition and examination fees.

Over 30 diploma and 40 degree students are being denied from writing the examination, which started on Monday, after the school failed to process their registration and examination fees.

Meanwhile, the students, through Student Union, have since sought for an injunction at the High Court, stopping the school from administering any examination until the matter is resolved.

Nyasa Times visit to the school’s campus, situated along M1 road in the commercial town of Blantyre, found about six armed police officers deployed to calm the situation as the students, in groups, deliberating about their circumstance.

In an interview, the students complained that the school’s administration had duped them of their examination, registration and tuition fees, forcing them to miss out on the list of registered students currently writing the examinations.

Diploma students paid K120,750 as examination fee, registration fee K28, 500 and K65, 000 as tuition, totalling to K214,250. Diploma students started their examinations on Monday to Friday while degree examinations started on Friday to Sunday.

“List of registered students came two weeks ago and our names were missing despite paying for everything. We followed it up with the examining boards ABMA and ABE who confirmed that we were not registered. When we confronted the administration, they lied will sort it out only to be told last week Friday that we will not be allowed to write the examinations,” complained the students.

Student Union president, Richwell Tambuli, who was assaulted by one of the lecturers during the fracas, said aside students being duped their money, there was no academic freedom at the institution as the school’s proprietor is alleged to interfere with administrative issues.

Tambuli said the administration was forced to lie to students after it noted that the owner, Patrick Mkandawire-a sole signatory to school’s accounts-pocketed the school’s funds.

“We need academic freedom. Lecturers are failing to effectively deliver due to the interference. And they have not been paid their salaries since July. We have had meetings but it seems nothing is working. The school has been failing to resolve the issue concerning fees for long time, now we will seek legal address,” said Tambuli.

In an interview, Examination Manager, Joshua Munthali dismissed the claim that the institution had duped the students, saying most of those protesting were barred from the examinations due to outstanding tuition arrears.

Munthali said some of the students could not write the examinations as their names were omitted officially by the examining boards.

“Most of them have outstanding tuition arrears, and for that reason, we couldn’t allow them to write the examination. Some of them were declared under-qualified by the examining boards,” explained Munthali.

He however, said the degree students would write deferred exams next year March, joining the diploma students that were omitted from the registration.

But verified information indicates that most of the affected students paid their tuition fees in full and were duly given White Card, which is usually given to those who pay fees in full.

According to administrative regulations, students at the university are given White Card if they pay fees in full, Green Card if they have outstanding arrears and Red Card if they do not pay the fees at all.

Skyway University formally called SIMAD had once been rocked in examination rows after it was noted recently that it was involved with a ghost examining boards, which also duped students their money.

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