Malawi science ’varsity at Ndata ready for opening, Minister assures parliament

Malawi Government has assured the country’s Parliament that the Malawi University of Science and Technology situated in Ndata, Thyolo district will be opened the coming academic year with the first intake being admitted in the 2013/2014 school calendar.

Minister of Education Eunice Kazembe made the assurance when she presented her report on the status of the new university which is the brain child of the country’s former President late Bingu wa Mutharika   which coincidentally was constructed at his home in Ndata, Thyolo district.

The Minister also gave an update of the situation of the closed two constituencies of the University of Malawi, Chancellor College and The Malawi Polytechnic which were closed following students strike over their upkeep allowances and also the recently hiked school fees for self-sponsored students.

On the status of MUST, Kazembe said the university will have its first intake of students in the 2013/2014 academic year.“There have been assertions that this government has no plans to open the university but that is not correct. Government is still committed to see the project through and that all the preparations for the opening are in progress,” she said.

Malawi University of Science and Technology at Ndata in Thyolo
Malawi University of Science and Technology at Ndata in Thyolo

Kazembe said so far the university has developed the curricula while most of the structures that include
administration, office block, lecture theatres and rooms, laboratories, a library, teaching hospital and students’ hostels have been finalised and will be handed over to government soon.

“I am pleased to report that in the 2013/2014 budget has made provisions for the university. K1.1 billion has been allocated for purchase of furniture and K530 million for operational costs for the university,” said Kazembe.

She said the delays in opening the state-of-the-art university were because the loan agreement with China which assisted in the construction of the facility only included construction of basic infrastructure while did not include furniture and fittings, books and teaching materials and construct staff houses.

A  report from the Public Universities Working Committee revealed that it will require almost K25 billion (about $62 500) to have the university opened.

Kazembe said government is still mobilising resources to finalise the remaining facilities.

“We are currently discussing with various cooperating partners for additional financial and technical support and also with the private sector for possible public private partnership arrangements in the running of the university,” she added.

She said so far government has appointed members of the university council and three members of staff who are on secondment to work alongside the council in readiness for the opening.

She said the council will be meeting on 17th and 18th June, 2013 to discuss the required steps so that different programs at the university can start and that recruitment of other key staff will start soon.

“We are also in discussion with other reputable international universities for exchange of expertise to build capacity,” said Kazembe.

The university is also yet to have furniture, social amenities, general school equipment, books and other learning resources and additional facilities such as primary and nursery schools (primary and nursery), a health centre to cater for a more than 300-staff community.

The project has already cost the Malawi Government US$89 million (almost K31 billion) which was in a form of a soft loan from the People’s Republic of China.

The Malawi University of Science and Technology will cover a wide range of specialized undergraduate, postgraduate, doctoral and post-doctoral degree courses in rare subjects not offered by other Universities in Malawi.

The Degree Programme courses will therefore be drawn in close consultation with Government and private sector to ensure that the training is relevant to our country

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