Malawi, President Arthur Peter Mutharika has finally bowed down and expected to meet University of Malawi students at Kamuzu Palace where he will discuss with learners about the recent fee hike by the University Council.
The students wrote a letter asking to meet the president over the decision made by the university council to hike fees.
In statement released to the press from the Office of the President and Cabinet (OPC) signed by Mgeme Kalilani, Mutharika will meet the students’ union leader on August 4 2016 the same day CSOs are set to hold demonstrations against the fee hike.
According to the statement from State House Press Office says the President has seen it fit to meet the students to deliberately discuss on how best they and the University Council can reach common ground.
“The President has accepted to meet the student unions leaders and it has since pleased him to grant them audience on 4th August 2016 at Kamuzu Palace in Lilongwe at 1 0:00 hrs,” read part of the statement.
As an accomplished academic himself and Chancellor of the UNIMA, the President is expected to share thoughts with the students on why university education needs proper investment if it is to match global standards.
One way of propping up such investment into the sector is letting students contribute substantial amounts to their education while the university management finds ways to enhance research and innovation as profit-making ventures. The hike has faced stiff resistance among students who argue the new fee bar is prohibitive to ‘poor students’.
Ironically, a recent World Bank report has indicated that UNIMA constitutes 90 percent of students who come from well to do families who have previously afforded even more exhorbitant fees at Primary and Secondary levels. The report further points out that Malawi is the cheapest SADC country when it comes to university education.
This is so because government funds almost 85 percent of public university education thereby putting a strain on the education purse in particular and the national budget at large. Government of Malawi has also enhanced the capacity of a Loans and Grants board which will give out financial help to needy students for them to attend university education.