Upkeep allowances, disbursed monthly to all government sponsored students in the country’s public universities, have been recipe for all sorts of mayhem since they were introduced. Because of them, students have found enough reasons to insult innocent passersby and barricade innocent motorists on the country’s roads, to mention just but a few problems.
Introduced not more than two years ago, the upkeep allowances initiative demands on the part of the colleges to set aside K40 000 (about US$80) for each student each month as their meal allowances. In addition to the meal allowances which, elsewhere in the same country are monthly incomes for salaried statesmen and women, the students get yearly stationery allowances of about K30 000 (about US$60).
Well, much as government issues out the money on the basis that the students are needy and, therefore, not capable of supporting their financial welfares, the students are possibly being as unthankful as dogs if their demeanors on the same which have heightened over the years are anything to go buy.
Of course that the students are needy is a lie. Most – of course, with exception of very, very few cases – would be capable of supporting themselves as far as issues of meals and stationery are concerned. After all, government already fills the bigger part of the puzzle by paying for their school fees.
And, yet, the students always go rowdy at the mention of anything regarding the allowances. Worst of it all, the students go to the extent of stoning, insulting innocent taxpayers who are the grand financiers of the money they make so much noise about.
The last week, for example, has seen Mzuzu University (Mzuni) students going on rampage because of the same. The students have since been indefinitely suspended, which means something about a year or so as a holiday for them. Had it been not for the allowances there would not have been the noise, and the students – especially the finales who were due to end their programmes in the next two weeks – would have been safe and sound.
Mzuni is not alone. At Chancellor College (Chanco) – a constituent of the University of Malawi (Unima) – calls, likely to end in notorious demonstrations, are rife that the allowances be hiked from the current K40 000 to K60 000 on basis of economic tough times. Now, K60 000 is monthly income for most of these students’ parents or guardians with which they pay bills, feed and clothe their siblings back home. And, what do our students use the allowances for? Shop luxuriously, smoke, drink and womanize.
We, at Nyasa Times, would like to appeal to all stakeholders to find other modalities, with which they can help government sponsored students for they are causing us, as a nation, more harm than good at the expense of our own taxes. The upkeep allowances must definitely go.