Quota system, oppressive laws to be abolished – JB

President Joyce Banda announced that her government  plans to abolish the controversial quota system which involves students being selected into higher education on the basis of district or region rather than straight merit and that her administration  has taken a deliberate policy position on some contentious matters that had almost turned Malawi into a pariah state during the reign of the late President Bingu wa Mutharika.

Addressing Parliament during the official opening of 2012/2013 budget session on Friday, May 18, 1212, Banda said:
“Government will abolish the quota system in selecting students into public universities; a committee will be set up to review and advice on how to increase the intake of students into the university.”

President Banda said there are plans to expand access to technical vocational training to raise the standard of education on offer to ensure that it meets the needs on the market.

President Banda delivering State of the Nation address. Photo: Fallys Ngalauka/Nyasa Times

She further said her government will engage private universities in a partnership to increase intake.

In the 2012/2013 fiscal year, government says it will provide bursaries to 12,000 needy students at secondary school and 340 needy students at Kamuzu Academy.

Her administration plans to construct 2,000 classrooms and 1,000 teachers’ houses and 30 resource rooms for children with special needs.

Back to order

The President said she wants to restore the rule of law in the country where she said impunity would no longer be tolerated.

“In this regard, Government will repeal the oppressive laws that were passed in this august House. Government is committed to resolving the issues that led to the suspension of donor aid,” she said, adding that immediately, her administration has constituted a Commission of Enquiry into the death of Robert Chasowa, a Polytechnic student who was mysteriously found dead.

She also disclosed that she shall ensure that the enquiry into the July 20, 2011 demonstrations is brought to a conclusive end.

“I have also instituted investigations into Emmanuel Kafele, Edson Msiska and others who died in police custody,” the Head of State.

The President also said her Government had normalised bilateral and multilateral relations with development partners including restoring diplomatic relations with the United Kingdom and re-engaging the International Monetary Fund (IMF).

“The British Government has decided to immediately resume its support to our country. We have also normalised our bilateral relations with the Government of Mozambique. During my state visit to Mozambique we have signed two bilateral agreements,” the President said.

The President told the House, where apart from MPs, other guests included diplomats, religious and civil society leaders and members of the general public, that Government has re-opened dialogue for the reinstatement of the Millennium Challenge Compact (MCC) Account with the United States Government.

“The MCC office in Lilongwe is now open. The benefits of the MCC programme are enormous to our energy sector,” the Head of State said.

President Banda, who is also the founding President of the governing People’s Party (PP) said her government had also dissolved the National Initiative for Civic Education (NICE) and NGO Boards, which were irregularly constituted, and that Government has invited fresh nominations according to law.

“I have started a consultative process with Chiefs as development agents and custodians of our customs and culture by holding a one day consultative conference.

“In recognition of their critical role as development agents I have appointed 10 chiefs 60% of whom are women Chiefs to serve as Champions of the newly launched Presidential Initiative on Maternal Health and Safe Motherhood.” said the Malawi leader.

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