10 April 2019

Malawi: Mutharika Endorses Splitting University of Malawi, Creates New Universties

President Peter Mutharika has assented to a bill which was passed in Parliament unbundling the University of Malawi (Unima) and is now a law creating standalone universities from the constituent colleges of Unima.

President Mutharika: Approves Unima split

State House director of communications Bright Molande has confirmed that Mutharika has "endorses creation of new universities" with immediate effect.

He said the target by government is to "create more space for more students to access university."

Molande said the decision by President Mutharika to approve the Unima split would change the landscape of university education in Malawi.

He said this is a move in the right direction to promote tertiary education in the country.

Malawi Polytechnic will now be called Malawi University of Business and Applied Sciences while College of Medicine and Kamuzu College of Nursing have been combined and will now be called Malawi University of Health Sciences.

Chancellor College will be University of Malawi.

Education activists have been advocating for the restructuring of Unima describing it as significant in enhancing educational growth among them high standards of academic leadership, financial independence, strong and world-class research as well as world-class academia.

Academicians also back the split saying the Unima federal structure had outlived its usefulness and is an obstacle to growth.

The education experts have suggested that Unima Council and National Council for Higher Education (Nche) need to merge into one policy oversight institution that would work with the Ministry of Education, Science and Technology in providing policy guidance, ensuring quality assurance, and promoting networking and learning across public universities.

Civil Society Education Coalition executive director Benedicto Kondowe saidthe merging of Unima Council and Nche, as suggested by other experts, was one brilliant idea authorities must take seriously.

Kondowe said the unbundling would help to deal with persistent problems such as lack of harmonisation of university calendars and frequent closures of universities due to student riots and staff strikes.

The delinking of the three colleges is the second after Bunda College of Agriculture was delinked from the university in 2011 which merged with Natural Resources College to form Lilongwe University of Agriculture and Natural Resources (Luanar).

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