Main opposition Malawi Congress Party (MCP) Member of Parliament for Dowa Ngala, Dr Elias Chakwera has said technical colleges in Malawi have failed to develop because the nation has no “systematic policy” that sustains technical training in this country.
Chakwera was speaking parliament after Chairperson of the Parliamentary committee of Social and Community Affairs , Richard Chimwendo Banda presented a report which highlighted that despite the increase in the funding towards technical colleges and the provision of the ADB loan, most colleges remained in a less than optimal state.
In his report, Chimwendo Banda noted that infrastructure was dilapidated and learning materials were inadequate. in most of the colleges they visited in the country.
He said the situation was particularly dire at Salima Technical College, where the community observed that hostels were in uninhabitable state.
“The classrooms were sparsely furnished and the teaching and learning materials were out dated and irrelevant to the present industrial needs.
“It was sad to see a motor vehicle mechanic course being conducted using an old engine from the 1980s, from a car that has seized to be manufactured on the global market,” pointed out Chimwendo Banda.
In his contribution to the report, Chakwera said the problems were due to lack of systematic policy for the sector, saying o technical colleges have been pushed between two ministries all the time, sometimes the Ministry of Labour, Youth and Manpower Development and sometimes the Ministry of Education, Science and Technology.
“That has actually made technical colleges fail to develop and no wonder we still have a mess where we are using very archaic equipment to train our people to this day,”said Chakwera.
“Mr Speaker, Sir, you will also recall that technical colleges used to be supported by the Apprentice Board in the University of Malawi which was abolished some time back, and we have not gone back any closer to university level where we have supported technical education,” he said.
He also criticised the coming in of community colleges by the DPP government , saying the project was rushed as far as education and training are concerned.
“The idea is very good, but when you don’t prepare it and put things in place, it becomes a bad idea in the end. It is quite interesting to note that we are already complaining that not much is happening because there are no teachers in the community colleges. This should not surprise us because this idea was not supported by the training of the trainers. It is not surprising that we don’t have the equipment in place. If we had waited for one year or two just to bring things and mobilise resources together, we would have kicked off this programme very well,” he said.
Chakwera said technical subjects demand a lot of resources .
“ For me, I thought we should be talking about how can we reorganise these colleges in order to effectively deliver what they should do? Who is responsible in this country for training and education? Is it Ministry of Labour, Youth and Manpower Development? It is a critical question which we must address otherwise we are going to be investing money and yet not getting the results because wrong people are doing the wrong job,” he said.
Chakwera said MPs must ask “serious soul searching questions,” which are going to look at policies in order to drive the development of t=Malawi in the right direction.
In his report, Chimwendo Banda said his the Committee viewed that technical and community colleges as “vital components “of the country’s future.
He said the colleges =have the potential to transform the economy of the nation through fostering a new generation of entrepreneurs who will not wait to be employed in white collar jobs but will create their own small and medium scale businesses.
Leader of the House Francis Kasaila asked for “more time” for MPs in order to allow them read the report and get acquainted with it to prepare for the debate.
The Speaker suspended debate on the report by the Social Committee band will continue tomorrow.Follow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :