Malawians debate leaked letter on ‘satanic’ quota system: North students affected in new cut-off point

Malawians have been taking to social media to express their misgivings to the  controversial quota system that requires higher education institutions to admit students based on where they come from after a leaked letter from National Council for Higher Education (Nche) to a unhappy student not selected to a public university.

The writting is on the wall for quota syetem

The quota system is aimed at discouraging a trend under the merit system that saw people from the north entering higher education in greater numbers than students from the south.

In the letter seen by Nyasa Times, Nche chief executive officer  Ignasio Jimu says the student who got 14 points and indicated his district of origin as Rumphi was not selected  because the cut-off point for the district’s male students was 12 points.

“You appeal was considered and the reason you were not selected is that the district’s cut-off point  for male candidates for Rumphi was 12, whilst you got 14 points,” the response reads.

Malawians took to Facebook, Twitter  and Whatsapp groups  to query the cut-off point where students from Rumphi is 12 points for male and 15 for female  students, while major cities like Blantyre and Lilongwe had 20 nd 21  for both genders respectively.

Many commenting on the development, backed the pledge by Vice-President Saulos Chilima to abolish the quota system which he branded as “satanic” and “demonic”.

Chilima, who dumped the ruling Democratic Progressive Party (DPP), has said his United Transformation Movement (UTM), will selected students to public university using merit system.

Malawians were left wondering and debating the merits and demerits of the quota system.

Many viewed that the intent of quota system is clearly  aimed at limiting the number of students from the northern region, who are believed to be disproportionately more than their counterparts in the central and southern regions.

At the heart of the quota system debate is the incredibly small number of students who are accorded space in Malawi’s public universities.

Malawi ranks bottom in the university-age cohort of young people enrolled annually.

 Dr Steve Shara a blogger and lecturer in education at Catholic University of Malawi (Cunima),  argued that  for the ethnic origins of the quota system, the real issue would have been to investigate the factors that lead certain districts and populations to do better than others.

“There are lessons to be learned from how some parents, communities and social groups encourage excellence in education. The lessons can be used to afford equal opportunities to others so as to level the playing field and provide everyone an equal chance,” he argued.

Benedicto Kondowe, the executive director of Civil Society Education Coalition (CSEC), says the quota system does not respond to deep-seated inequalities in the education system as it is more addressing symptoms.

Quota system does not address intra-district inequalities rather than regional as such it is technically accepting intra-district inequalities, he adds.

“The point being made here is that there are disparities within a given district, for example, between conventional and CDSS that any meaningful policy should aim at bridging. Unfortunately, quota system does not look at such disparities in terms of how differently schools are resourced within the district in terms of staffing, libraries and laboratories etc.

“What we needed to do was to carefully assess why certain districts are performing better than others despite being more resourced so that we deal with root causes of such disparities.

“My view has been to look at long term incentives to trigger better results than the way the quota system is being implemented which in my view is too discriminatory. The policy also runs contrary to democratic principles of fairness. The UDHR classifies tertiary education as competitive, implying that access to it has to be based on equal grounds of performance,” he said.

Educationists have argued repeatedly, a win-win quota system would give more weight to economic class, gender, and disability so as to enable more Malawians from poor and disadvantaged backgrounds access university education but  the way it has been implemented in the country has had shortfalls in terms of planning and targeting.

Unarguably, there is something fundamentally wrong with the current quota system. It needs to be abolished.

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john
Guest

Who told NCHE to set a cut off point at 12points for Rumphi, Chitipa & Karonga but put 20 & 21 for Blantyre and Lilongwe, respectively? Why did they do this? Is this what is called equity or fairness? Equitable to who? Fair to who? How does anyone justify this? QUOTA system is a DPP agenda, no secret! Why does DPP advocate for this system? University education is competitive, anywhere, why not in Malawi? Are we sure merit is not the way to go? Has merit failed us? Does the system instill enough esteem and confidence in the “favored” districts… Read more »

winson msowoya
Guest
winson msowoya

Quota is indeed satanic. Koma Chilima wadziwa liti? uwapusise anzakowo. MCP boma

Ndaonavino
Guest
Ndaonavino

Study the systems first starting from the examination board itself. MANEB is full of tumbukas and they don’t visit north during exams so that their relatives can have free time to cheat. They normally have regular visits during exams in most of the southern and central region schools making students in these regions write exams with fear. Unless MANEB open regional office in MZUZU which will be occupied with people from other regions to monitor administration of exams within north, the tumbukas will continue getting free points from spoon. Muphunzirenge mukaone BLANTYRE anganya.

Benni Hope
Guest

There are many students who have been denied access to universities In other regions but nobody, not even those students have ever come in public to get sympathy, not at all. But you our friends from the north why you like using that strategy. Very shameful guys. I don’t understood that formula. If you feel Malawi is one, stop such whining when In actual sense,you know the truth that Quota is bringing hope to the poor and disadvantaged students in all districts including your districts

Hlabezulu Ngonoonda
Guest
Hlabezulu Ngonoonda

There was purging of northern Malawians at MANEB and National Statistics between 1989 and 1992. One from the former institution called Mbughi, who used to administer MANEB interviews when recruiting exam checkers, was one among those purged. Of course they sued MANEB but has not idea how the case ended. Over the years people from the centre and the south have recruited them again by virtue of their capacity to perform and compile statistics which has elements of Mathematics. It is not not that they are from the Dead North. Suffice to say that once recruited, they are deliberately heaped… Read more »

Khungwa
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Khungwa

Malawians please stop worshipping people for a broad daylight lie. This man Chilima will take you nowhere! Do not be cheated. Please be sober when choosing the next president. Make no mistake to think that Chilima is any better. Between 2010 and 2012 all Malawians cried to God to save them from ruthless DPP Government. The then First, lady Carrista mocked Malawians when they needed her help. Kaliati was in that Government too as a cabinet minister. She spoke in total defence of Government position “people are sleeping in fuel stations at their own choice” she too mocked as she… Read more »

winson msowoya
Guest
winson msowoya

Me too MCP

Friend
Guest

You will be surprised today to find Kenneths, Daniels, etc as sirnames of some students from the Northern Region of Malawi in the countr’s public universities(in reality we do not have such sirnames in the North). Do this research, you will agree with me…but the origin, SATANIC QUOTA SYSTEM.

CHIUTA Mtumbike Malawi, mumsunge mumtende
Thereskani barwani bose, njala, nthenda, SANJE
Gumanyani mitima yithu
Chofyo tibevyeso
Mtumbike mrongozgi na tose,
Na mama Malawi.

Friend
Guest

While this happened I had the F. Mkandawires who changed sir names to Washington…pple who loved me encouraged me to register my district as Ntcheu, not Mzimba. I was God-fearing so I RISKED registering my real sir name…while others were sinning by lying to the Government.I was selected to COM though my lying Mkandawire to Washingtons were left out.

Quota makes people liars!

Friend
Guest

“Ndinalira ine, Friend, the whole night after I was left out in the University selection”, said Friend Nkhwazi, who got 14 points from Likuni Boys Open Secondary School in 2014. Lucky enough he was explaining this while preparing his journey to Michigan University in the USA to do his MBBS(Bachelor of Medicine, Bachelor of Surgery), after Azungu sponsored him with everything!Any plan made to suppress any particular group will only promote that group to levels beyond measure .We have a lesson from the oppressive regime of Pharaoh on the favored Israel.

Namalomba Fredrick
Guest
Namalomba Fredrick

Students from lomwe belt do not pass well as you can see what are taught at MLAKHO WA ALOMWE, a culture promotion grouping of PLAIN SEX, so instead of thinking about studies they think of SEX which is promoted at the event. Very unfair to north students who work hard to achieve good grades. Qouta system is evil and it has really to be abolished.

Ndaonavino
Guest
Ndaonavino

Very stupid thinking, just because most people at MANEB are from north and they let you cheat during exams by not visit your school during exams you think your more intelligent than the rest of all Malawians? Unless northern people stops stupid thinking like yours its when Malawians will start listening to your cries but for now forget. No president will entertain anything from you fools even chilima nseu.

Female Anopheles fenestus
Guest
Female Anopheles fenestus

Some of the comments here are trash and stinking.Whether quota system or not, the whole North will still vote for SKC. We have some idiots here who claim that students from the North cheat do you have any proof? If you are indeed intelligent show us! Comparing a child from Thyolo and one from Mzimba or Karonga who is more poorer or more likely to fail exams. Actually you think like a rat. So you pipo think honourable folks from the North and their children cannot be found in any other district in Malawi except in the North? You are… Read more »

winson msowoya
Guest
winson msowoya

I am from north but cannot vote Chilima. He has promoted quota system for 4 yrs as vice president and still does as veep.angofuna north vote. Callister and Kaliati promoted this quota system. They should not cheat us. One ndekha nakana. Wena mpoto voters mukweni wins Chakwera wangakutayani yayi. first ladies districts are more developed. choose mcp

dick
Guest
dick

komanso chilima aaaaa, sangatithandize , nanga bwanji amafuna quota pa ma udindo a mu boma ?

Ndaonavino
Guest
Ndaonavino

What a good question! He should have talked of performance not quota on government positions if indeed he mean it.

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