University of Malawi students still boycotting classes

Polytechnic and Chancellor College students, constituent colleges of the University of Malawi (Unima) are still boycotting classes pressing the government to increase their living allowances in line with cost of living.

The students are also demanding that the tuition fees for self-sponsored students be reduced.

The University Council raised the tuition fees from K100,000 to K250,000, but the students argues that the upward adjustment of tuition fees is making it impossible for parents and guardians to fully support the students in the face of high cost of living.

Last week Friday, Polytechnic students took to the streets to express their anger after they were told that their living allowances will not be raised because government does not have the money increase the allowance.

They also petitioned President Joyce Banda through Anatanzio Chibwana, district commissioner for Blantyre.

Poly students held demo recently
Poly students held demo recently

Meanwhile, Chancellor College (Chanco) students have agreed not to attend classes and will be camping at the University of Malawi offices in the eastern district of Zomba until their grievances are resolved.

“We have agreed that while we will be renegotiating with Unima officials we will be holding a vigil at the Unima offices so that those responsible should reconsider their decision regarding the living allowance and tuition fees,” said Israel Masiyano, Chanco Student Union President.

While Wakisa Simukonda, Students Union of Polytechnic President, said the students cannot sustain themselves with the K42,000 allowances, saying the money is too little compared to the rate of food at the college’s cafeteria.

Simukonda said they decided to present their petition because they know President Banda, who is also the Chancellor, would understand their grievances and reverse Unima’s decision.

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