Malawi College of Fisheries will start offering diploma programme from next school session, Principal Secretary (PS) for Agriculture, Irrigation and Water Management, Gray Nyandule Phiri, disclosed on Monday.
The PS disclosed this Tuesday when he presided over the graduation ceremony for the 32nd congregation for the Malawi College of Fisheries Pre-service Programme in Mangochi.
Since it was established in 1966 as Fisherman's Training Institute, the college has been offering training in Fisheries Management at certificate level but the PS said time had now come for the institution to upgrade to diploma level.
"We need to move with time and development," he said adding that, "We are the only sector that is remaining behind while the rest have upgraded on the courses they offer in their learning institutions."
According to the PS, the College has the capacity to train and produce competent graduates in Fisheries Management at diploma level as the institution has a highly qualified crop of trainers of up to PhD level.
Phiri said there would be need to align the college's courses to a well established and accredited University such as Lilongwe University of Agriculture and Natural Resources (LUANR) or Mzuzu University (MZUNI) to make the diploma valid and legitimate.
Malawi College of Fisheries has had the cost of its operations heavily subsidized by government the factor the PS pointed out to have contributed to the institution's stagnation for the past five decades.
"The Malawi College of Fisheries is the only remaining institution that relies on government funding and we are glad that of late there has been an improvement in funding levels," Phiri explained.
He added that, "But we now want the college to be generating funds on its own; so as we roll out the diploma programme parents will have to be paying some amount say, up to 50 percent just to help generate funds and keep the institution running."
Presently, parents have been paying a contribution of K20, 000 per semester for every student studying with the college. Principal of the College, Leston Yoyola Phiri said that the institution has had an increased funding of up to 76 per cent in the coming financial year which he said would see the college enroll more learners.
He said although the college has the capacity to accommodate 57 learners, it currently targets around 40 only due to inadequate resources. Director of Fisheries, Friday Njaya, said the Malawi College of
Fisheries was strategically positioned in the region and that since its establishment it has trained hundreds of people from SADC countries and it has conducted various researches for the region.
Only 26 students have graduated in the 32nd congregation and they have since been employed by the Malawi government pending deployment to various districts to execute what they acquired in the two years they stayed in college.
They have since been asked to strive to get the dwindling levels of fish in the country's water bodies restored and to avoid corrupt practices whenever they will be executing their job.