Malawi leader implores private sector involvement in university education

Malawi’s President Mrs Joyce Banda has called for private sector involvement in the funding of higher education saying this will accelerate the country’s development.

The President said costs for higher education are spiraling saying government is spending between MK1 million and MK1.5 million per student per year. Students in public Universities pay a heavily subsidized tuition fee of MK25,000 per year.

Mrs Banda, who was installed as Chancellor of Mzuzu University on Friday, said this at the 14th congregation of Mzuzu University during the awarding of certificates, diplomas and degrees to 440 graduands.

“My government will endeavor and must endeavor to make a meaningful contribution to higher education by attracting more funding. I want to promise that I will work very hard on this issue,” she said.

However, the President avoided commenting directly on the problems rocking the university. Mzuzu University staff are on strike demanding better pay and working conditions. The dons have resolved to stay away…pending a favorable outcome for their demands.

Apart from that the battle for vice Chancellorship is being fought at the Mzuzu High Court and not to mention its erratic calendar due to student riots

“When one examines the budget allocation to Mzuni and the demands made on its resources it is obvious that the financial resources are far inadequate,” she said amid hand clapping from the students.

Mrs Banda said it is sad to note that 48 years after independence Malawi is unable to enroll 15,000 students in its Universities.

“It is my government’s aim to increase the number of students intake by expanding teaching space and accommodation at existing universities,” the President said.

She said it is a tragedy that students with 10 points or less were unable to get to universities because of space or where they come from

“We are losing our future doctors, Pilots and Engineers,” the President said.

She said her government attaches great importance to education, science and technology saying they are catalyst to the socio-economic development of the country.

In the 2012/13 fiscal budget government allocated the education sector MK74 billion which represent 22 percent of the total budget.

To the new graduates she said, “It is not the number of degrees that you get that matter ion life rather what you do with that education when you leave College”

Mzuzu University Council Chairperson Professor Brown Chimphamba said Mzuni is facing numerous problems because management has been unable to balance the idea of self fund generation and less dependence on government subvention.

“That  is why 13 years since its establishment we are unable to move to phase two of the development of the university,” Chimphamba said

“There are so many stories about us in the media. Some are good others are exergerated negatives,” he said.

Mzuzu University Acting Vice-Chancellor Dr Orton Msiska making a statement at Mzuzuz University graduation ceremony

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