The future of the establishment of the National Council for Higher Education (NCHE) whose bill was passed by the Malawi Parliament last year looks hazy as it has taken over a year without gazetting it, a situation that has stalled the accreditation process of Colleges and Universities.
On July 24, 2011 parliament authorised the establishment of NCHE under bill 31 of 2010 whose responsibility, if gazetted, would be the regulation of universities, conduct periodic reviews of all accredited institutions of higher learning and revoking licences of those deemed to have failed to meet the standards.
Director for Higher Education in the Ministry of Education, Science and Technology, Professor Dixie Maluwa Banda said the body would soon start its operations after it is gazetted by the Ministry of Justice and constitutional affairs.
“After parliament endorsed the bill last year, all accreditation processes were supposed to go to the newly mandated body for review including scrutinisation of already accredited Colleges and Universities,” said Professor Maluwa Banda adding that, “Those that will not meet the set standards will have their accreditation cancelled.”
Chief legislative council for the Ministry of Justice and Constitutional Affairs, Fiona Kalemba concurred with Maluwa Banda on the institution’s establishment.
“I can tell you that the National Council for Higher Education will be gazetted soon as ground work is in the process,” said Kalemba refusing to divulge further information on why it has taken too long to have the new entity gazetted.
Commenting on NCHE establishment, Civil Society Education Coalition Director Benedicto Kondowe observed that the process of gazetting has taken too long warning education authorities that the sector’s development was at stake.
Said Kondowe: “The period is too long and such lapses are too detrimental to development of higher education in Malawi.”
He urged government to expedite the process of gazetting the body so that the process of accreditation of Colleges and Universities is done professionally and independently.
Previously, issues of accreditation were handled by a special committee established by Office of the President and Cabinet (OPC) which was dissolved to pave way for the National Council for Higher Education.
Up to 1994, the University of Malawi was the only accredited institution followed by Mzuzu University in 1997. Other accredited establishments include the Catholic and Livingstonia Universities, among others.
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