Malawi technical students want to be graduating with degrees, diplomas

Nasawa Technical and Vocational students have asked government to start issuing diplomas and degrees after their 3 years and 4 years training respectively.

College Student Union Council president, Halima Makhamba made the call when Minister of Labour, Eunice Makangala visited the college on a familiarization tour to assess the condition of technical colleges in the country.

The Labour Minister was accompanied by Labour Principal Secretary, James Kalilangwe, Director of Technical and Vocational Training, Dr. Godfrey Kafere and other senior officials from the Labour Ministry.

Government has recently moved technical and vocational training functions from the Ministry of Education, Science and Technology to the Ministry of Labour, meaning that all technical and vocational training colleges now fall under the later ministry.

Labour Minister Makangala and Principal Secretary James Kalirangwe visited Nasawa technical college in Zomba
Labour Minister Makangala and Principal Secretary James Kalirangwe visited Nasawa technical college in Zomba

Mankhamba observed students in technical colleges take 3 to 4 years to complete an apprenticeship training programme in Motor Vehicle Mechanics yet they only graduate with a certificate while the same years in other colleges under the University of Malawi, one graduates with a degree.

She also bemoaned the inadequate space in the hostels where there is overcrowding adding that the male hostels were even worse.

Mankhamba therefore asked for additional hostels, big library with academic books, and a Minibus for school transport.

She also said the K5, 500 monthly allowances for students on attachment was small to motivate them in terms of getting their needs and necessities.

Minister of Labour Makangala assured the students government has acquired a loan through the African Development Bank which will increase access through the construction of infrastructure like additional classrooms, workshops, ICT, e-library, purchase of utility vehicles and capacity building in a five-year project.

“My visit to the colleges has given me a chance to appreciate the activities in these institutions and the challenges they are facing because government has put technical and vocational training among the 9 priorities,” she said

Makangala also said government has selected four technical colleges for the African Development Bank TEVET project namely: Soche, Nasawa, Lilongwe and Salima which will be upgraded with facilities and capacity building for the teaching staff.

“Under the Education Science and Technology (HEST) project from 2012 to 2017, there will also be 2,000 merit based scholarships with 40 percent female students. The country needs technical and vocational students to achieve its dream of transforming from an exporting to an importing nation to develop socially and economically,” the Minister said.

College Principal, Evas Mulelemba said the college offers Competence Based Education and Training under TEVET in auto-electrics, bricklaying, carpentry, motor vehicle mechanics, and secretarial studies among others.

Mulelemba also said lack of instructors and overcrowded hostels were among the challenges the college was facing.

On final attainment of a certificate by students after completing the training in technical colleges he stressed: “Why should students spend 4 years training period yet they will only get a certificate at the end.”

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