Chairperson of the Social and Community Affairs Committee , Richard Chimwendo Banda has asked government to set up a National Qualification Framework (NQF) for community colleges being open across the country.
NQF defines levels of learning in terms of both academic and vocational qualifications.
Chimwendo Banda said in parliament while commending government in opening community colleges, he said NQF should be introduced “so there must be some linkages between community technical colleges and the demand out there. So, somebody can graduate from a community college and still get employment somewhere else. “
He added: “I know that you want to empower these young men to start their own businesses. It is not always possible. Sometimes you may even look for formal employment, and this would be an opportunity to get such employment. So, I want to ask the Ministries of Labour and Education to help in coming up with the national qualification framework.”
Chimwendo Banda also told the House about poor infrastructure of technical colleges across the country.
“ The situation at Soche, Salima and Mzuzu technical colleges is very bad. The funding which is inadequate, is also affecting them. They are using very old infrastructure. I want to implore on the Ministry of Labour through this House to consider increasing funding especially for this year so that this infrastructure could be improved,” he said.
Ntchisi North East MP Alex Chitete also bemoaned the state of practical equipment in the colleges
“Most of it is either obsolete and out of pace with current technologies or in an unusable state. How do we expect to produce skilled people from such low standards?” Chitete wondered.
And Chimwendo Banda also asked the Ministry of Youth to consider a clear linkage between community colleges and the national youth programmes such as YEDF.
“Those that should benefit from YEDEF should be those that have capacity to run businesses and have capacity even to do and start their own businesses,” he said.
Chimwendo Banda hailed TEVETA for supporting his committee to go around and visit the colleges to assess the situation
He observed that the idea of community colleges was rushed adding that it was further complicated by government’s juggling of responsibility to run the colleges between ministries of Labour and Manpower Development and Education, Science and Technology.
The MP also asked government to” increase the pace of implementing” the establishment of the colleges.
“We have 11 community colleges now and then only three years for the DPP-led government to finish. I don’t know if we are going to reach the figure of 28 and then 193.
“So I would like to ask the Minister of Labour to increase the pace, I don’t know if they are waiting for Malawi Congress Party to finish that after 2019,” said Chimwendo Banda, an MCP legislature.
Minister of Labour and Manpower Development Henry Mussa confirmed that government is facing problems with the colleges
“You need to realise that we are mostly using old infrastructure such as school blocks some of which have stood for over 30 years. But plans are underway to construct new buildings to house these colleges. As for the equipment government is buying some while additional ones are being provided by countries such as India which has pledged to supply equipment,” Mussa said.
Government introduced grass-root colleges with the aim of giving the youth skills to create jobs and earn a decent living and contribute to the country’s economy.
The colleges will improve access to technical and entrepreneurial education, especially in rural areas where the majority of nearly 50 000 students leaving the country’s secondary schools are cut off due to lack of information.
The country has seven technical colleges, which enroll 2 000 students, mirroring a huge unmet demand for tertiary educationFollow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :