Fury mounts over 400% increase in tuition fees: University of Malawi

The Government was facing mounting fury over decision to charge students up to K275, 000 a year in tuition fees at constituent colleges of the University of Malawi  (Unima).

The  University Council (Unima’s decision making body) has announced the 400 percent tuition increase of  government sponsored students from K55 000 (about $144) per year to a 400 percent fees hike to K275 000 (about $723), in a bid to improve tertiary education whose poor standards’ it argues have been attributed to inadequate resources.

The new tuition fees starts from the 2014/15 academic year.

Kondowe: Unima fees are on the lower side
Kondowe: Unima fees are on the lower side

“The fees can be paid in full during registration of the first semester or in two equal instalments at the beginning of each semester of an academic year. These fees/contribution shall be subject to change from time to time,” reads part of a statement from the University Office in Zomba.

The tuition fee adjustment raised concerns with poorer students being priced out of   public institutions of higher learning.

Education activists called for measures to help poorer students.

Lilongwe University of Agriculture and Natural Resources (Luanar) spokesperson Bessie Milanzi noted that “students already cannot afford the current fees” and the 400 percent hike will be prohibitive.

Students  who Nyasa Times spoke to argue that with an average monthly wage in Malawi of US $50 most will have no way of raising the money, and appeal to university authorities to set up a panel to look into student concerns.

However, Unima remain adamant that universities in other African countries students there pay more and have very tough loan regimes.

Civil Society Education Coalition (Scec) executive director Benedicto Kondowe already admitted that the Unima fees are on the lower side.

Parliament, during the last sitting, authorised President Peter Mutharika’s government to borrow K20 billion from the African Development Bank (ADB) to help Unima to increase access to tertiary education.

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