Malawi Parliament has approved a $50 million (about K20 billion) Loan Authorisation Bill for government to borrow funds from the World Bank to finance increasing access to higher education at the University of Malawi (Unima) colleges, vocational education provider Teveta and Mzuzu University (Mzuni).
When Minister of Finance, Economic Planning and Development Goodall Gondwe tabled the Loan Authorisation Bill in Parliament during last sitting, the lawmakers rejected it.
But government engaged the MPs and persuaded them to support the design of high quality and relevant education programmes which would be delivered through open and distance learning (ODL).
The skills development project will target the three public colleges and Teveta with funding using disbursements linked indicators which means they will only be funded after meeting specific targets.
Out of the K20 billion loan, US$4.9 million (about MK 2 billion) is expected to be invested into higher learning institutions.
University courses under the Bill will be designed to equip students with skills that are in alignment with Malawi’s developmental needs said Gondwe.
The project encompasses all three public universities with inclusion of technical colleges under Technical Entrepreneurial and Vocational Training (TEVET).
The bill was rather passed without debate as all political parties took turns in expressing optimism on the positive development implications of the Bill.
Malawi Congress Party MP Jessie Kabwila said increasing access to tertiary education should go alongside infrastructure and human resource development.