Poly students warn of fresh protests over upkeep allowance: University of Malawi

Students at the Polytechnic, a constituent college of the University of Malawi are threatening to resume protests should government fail to address an issue in which they are pushing for an increment on their upkeep allowance.

This is despite the signing of the forms which the education authorities forced them to sign as a condition of reopening the college which was closed sometime back after the two sides failed to find an amicable solution to the grievances.

The students have been asking for an increment of K10, 000 to their upkeep allowance to keep pace with what they call rising cost of living. But government has strongly refused to bow down to the students’ demand saying this does not resonate well with its budget.

President of the polytechnic students union, Wakisa Simkonda maintains that although the students have signed the consent forms to resume classes, this does not mean that the issue is over saying there is great need for the government to find a long term solution to the issue.

Dr Sharra: Time bomb
Dr Sharra: Time bomb

“What they should know is that the problems will be still there because they haven’t solved any problem,” he said.

Simkonda says although the government has managed forcing the students to resume classes what they should expect is that this will resurface just very soon.

“Although the students have resumed class the issue is that they haven’t resolved anything and the issue is to resurface very soon.”

However, one of education activists Dr  Steve Sharra told a local privately owned radio Capital FM on Sunday that  that there is need for the government to stop issuing allowances, saying this puts the government on a “time bomb.”

“It is good to continue the dialogue because these students went to the university on the understanding that they will be given the support they are looking for and there were concerns over the cost of living are genuine so there is definitely a need to look into those concerns,” he said.

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