LUANAR reviewing quality assurance system to achieve ISO certification

The Lilongwe University of Agriculture and Natural Resources (LUANAR) has embarked on an ambitious exercise of reviewing its quality assurance system to ensure accelerated process to achieve International Standards Organization (ISO) certification.

The university is also undertaking a functional review aimed at aligning its systems and structures so that they serve the institution better and championing full-time equivalency policy implementation to improve and rationalize the student to teacher ratio.

LUANAR Council Chairperson Professor Zachary Kasomekera made the remarks on Wednesday during the university’s fifth graduation ceremony held at its Natural Resources College (NRC) Campus in Lilongwe.

Kasomekera outlining his Council’s plans for LUANAR to journalists–Photo by Watipaso Mzungu, Nyasa Times

Kasomekera further disclosed that the Council is reviewing its performance management system to make it more user-friendly and relevant and thus the Council has created champions to ensure full support to management.

“These champions will be working with management to ensure that the various reforms and projects the university is embarking on are achieved efficiently and effectively,” he said.

The said champions include Councillor Doreen Chanje who is responsible for Academic Affairs, Councillor Guta (Resource Mobilization), and Councillor Emmanuel Chapo who will advance policy reforms.

Kasomekera emphasized that the significance of an institution of higher learning is measured by quality and quantity of solutions offered to the national social and economic challenges.

Professor Kaunda granting journalists an interview after awarding certificates, diplomas and degrees to graduating students–Photo by Watipaso Mzungu, Nyasa Times

“Malawi has formulated the Agenda 2063 as a blueprint to achieve improved quality of life for its people. LUANAR is a vital partner in the realization of goals and objectives of Agenda 2063, as it is no secret that agriculture will be playing a pivotal role in the actualization of Agenda 2063, and LUANAR is at the centre of agricultural transformation,” he said.

In his remarks, LUANAR Vice Chancellor Professor Emmanuel Kaunda said the university has just concluded a comprehensive and consultative curricula review exercise, which has further enriched the programmes to ensure that they are relevant and responsive to the needs of the industry.

He said LUANAR has ensured that the programmes are aligned to the market trends, with impact on society.

“We have also systematically weeded out redundant and overlapping courses and programs. This is as a result of the consultations with various stakeholders,” he said.

Apparently, LUANAR hosts one of the 24 prestigious African Centers of Excellency in Southern and Eastern countries under the World Bank ACE II programme.

Graduating students with beadles before being awarded their academic papers–Photo by Watipaso Mzungu, Nyasa Times

Out of the 24 centers in the region, LUANAR was the first Centre of Excellency to get International Accreditation in two of its programmes.

The institution has successfully been benchmarked under the Partnership for Skills in Applied Sciences, Engineering and Technology (PASET) programme.

It is against this background, Kaunda said, that currently, LUANAR is embarking on quality assurance initiative, which will see it become the first ISO certified university in Malawi.

“LUANARs aspiration is to become a world class university. One good indicator of a World Class University is Excellence in Research and Outreach. I am happy to report that recently Council approved the Research and Consultancy policy, which will guide the way research, grants and consultancies will be managed. During the past year, the University has undertaken a number of research programmes in collaboration with Government Ministries and Development partners. The university through various projects has set aside resources to undertake research for impact,” said the Vice Chancellor.

A PhD graduate in Rural Development and Extension, Dr. Bright Brainious Sibale, said the studies he has undergone at LUANAR will enable him to contribute to the development of the country and beyond.

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