The Malawi University of Science and Technology MUST and Department of Disaster Management Affairs (DoDMA) have signed a Memorundum of Understanding (MoU) for collaboration in training and research in Disaster Risk Management.
The MoU will see the facilitation of a four year full time Bachelors degree in Disaster Risk Management.
Signing the Mou, Secretary to the Office of Vice President and Commissioner for Dodma Clement Chinthu Phiri said the Mou will enhance studies and research in disaster management to guide policy development and implementation.
On her part, MUST Vice Chancellor Professor Address Malata said the institution is geared to making a difference in as far as disaster risk management is concerned through the initiative.
The specialist science and technology university degrees in health and medical sciences, applied engineering and technology, and Earth and climate change sciences, among other areas.
The Malawi University of Science and Technology Bill was passed in 2010 after the Chinese government agreed to lend funds to build a new university, on condition of repayment over 20 years. Malawi borrowed US$70 million from the Export-Import Bank of China to build the new institution.
In 2011 late president Bingu wa Mutharika moved the planned university from the capital Lilongwe to his own farm, Ndata Estate, which is in Thyolo in the south of the country. It was part of Mutharika’s ambitious initiative to open five new institutions of higher learning in 10 years.
The five proposed institutions would include the University of Bangula, devoted to cotton research and water resources management, to be constructed in the south. The University of Marine Biology would be built in the western district of Mangochi and would focus on aquaculture. And Mombela University in northern district of Mzimba.
Mutharika hoped that building five new institutions would end the controversial university entrance quota system based on place of origin rather than merit, which benefited students from the north of Malawi the most in securing university places.
Malawi is said to produce fewer university graduates than any other nation in the 15-country Southern African Development Community region. New reports have claimed that the country only has space for one out of every five students who qualify for university entrance.