There is no doubt that education is the backbone of every civilized society. Education is very important and necessary step, since this communicates knowledge and skills, so each and everyone can think for a stable and secure future.
That is why the Malawi’s first president Dr Hastings Kamuzu Banda had an impetus to introduce the aforementioned facility for university students bearing in mind that most of the students who perform exceptionally at secondary school level cannot meet the cost of university education. Kamuzu did not want these bright students to languish on the grounds of financial adversity; as such he introduced the loan scheme which has helped a lot. It must be pointed out here that it’s not only Malawi which has this facility but also in developed countries like the United States of America, Great Britain just to mention a few.
What has triggered this write-up is how Malawi Savings Bank is handling this facility. It is sad that most students have been skipped on the loan scheme using a very questionable criterion. Malawi Savings Bank should know that these students who are being mentally tortured were taken on full government scholarship ticket and it does not hold water to force them to pay fees when in real sense they do not have the capacity to do that. It is very unfortunate that some of you, also benefited from the same facility, now you want this generation to suffer just because of your selfish motives.
Now let’s concentrate on whom is responsible for all this unhealthy developments: government. Government is very much aware of the anomalies which are happening on the ground but has chosen to be silent; as if the issue is nothing to do with their leadership. Bunda College students demonstrated on the same issue but government did not come in.
Everyone knows pretty well that MSB is a government entity and whatever is doing comes from the top government authorities. This is a surprise to all students and Malawians at large since our head of state once strongly promised to disburse the loans in time so as to avoid unnecessary demonstrations. If the president was saying that just to buy political mileage from students, then he made a very big mistake.
University education should be handled with care if we are to realize meaningful developments. It’s high time government appreciates that university education is a critical component of human development worldwide. It provides high level skills necessary for every labour market. It is these trained individuals who develop the capacity and analytical skills that drive the economies, lead effective governments and make important decisions which affect the entire society.
There is no way government can say all this is happening due economic problems as it already dismissed allegations that it is sailing in financial abyss. Had it been that government accepted that it is block, I could have advised on one policy option: promoting private financing of education. That is to say government should make efforts to privatize the university students’ loan scheme. The reason is that our leaders are failing to recognize priorities of this country. Our politicians are just good at propaganda. This issue of education seems has nothing to do with their political interests.
I am very much convinced that government owes an explanation to the students and the taxpayers. Students should be properly informed by government not Malawi Savings Bank. Government should not hide; it has a responsibility on this issue. Students were assured of full scholarship by government not MSB.
The general public must be well informed of what has triggered this fishy conduct. Unless these problems facing our universities are addressed I cannot buy the idea of constructing more universities.
Maneno Chimulala (University student)
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