Commentators and experts on education in the country have hailed President Lazarus Chakwera's installation as Champion for Higher Education in Africa, but have quickly advised that the Malawi leader needs to up his game as far as catapulting education standards for the better is concerned.
Forum for Capacity Building in Agriculture (RUFORUM)--a consortium of 129 universities from 38 countries across Africa--installed the honour on Chakwera at a function held at Kamuzu Palace in the capital Lilongwe.
Steve Sharra, a renowned education expert, said Chakwera's recognition puts a spotlight on Malawi and its higher education system.
"The President should use the opportunity to highlight his role in the academic world," said Sharra, adding: "We can use this opportunity to push for more research funding, expansion of access to higher education and to support the use of research evidence in policy making and implementation."
In turn, socio-political commentator, Humphreys Mvula, the honour was "a good development and a positive recognition for the country."
RUFORUM's Executive Secretary, Prof. Adipala Ekwamu, of Makerere University in Uganda, said the universities will continue shaping the human capital in various countries for Africa to achieve economic development.
Through RUFORUM, he said, over 3,000 students across Africa have been trained to make sure that we positively contribute in the development of our countries and Africa as a continent.
Ekwamu also lauded President Chakwera for ensuring that the education sector was given the largest funding allocation in the 2021/2022 budget, which he said "is a clear commitment to uplift education in the country."
Education minister, Agness NyaLonje, said the award puts Malawi on the fore front in promoting education in Africa and help the country to ably achieve its Vision 2063.
"The policies that have been put forward in the agriculture sector have created an enabling environment for all school-going children to enjoy education as issues of malnutrition will not have space, hence improvement in the school attendance," she said.
And, in his acceptance speech Chakwera asked the forum to consider including other public universities in the country in its capacity-building initiatives following the delinking of University of Malawi Colleges as independent universities recently.
"I urge the committee to consider including other universities that are not party following the delinking of Malawi Universities," Chakwera said.