As far as I am concerned, the abolition of JCE and the general review of fees for public educational institutions is the only bold and strategic decision that Mutharika and the DPP government have ever made since May 2014. And I say, Congratulations!!
The benefits of abolishing JCE by far outweigh the cost of maintaining it. Those that are unhappy with the abolition have very good reasons and arguments, but what they are missing is that, what we benefit, even in terms of value, from JCE as a nation must substantially surpass the cost that our poor government annually invests in the Examinations. And it is also highly imperative to consider the actual tradeoffs of spending hundreds of millions of tax on JCE, when we cannot afford decent salaries of the teachers, medicine, medical and educational facilities, etc, whose value outweighs JCE. Our economy is going through a delicate situation which needs serious fiscal thinking.
I would like also to commend government for reviewing and raising tuition and boarding fees for public educational institutions and eliminating sponsorship for tertiary institutions. This is a very brilliant fiscally sound and convenient decision. It does not make sense for one of the poorest countries on earth, to be spending huge subsidies for public services. In as much as public services must be subsidized, this must be done with utmost caution and prudent calculations to avoiding injuring the economy as has always been the case. Infact, government must seriously consider introducing some fees for public hospitals and clinics too. These are bold decisions that must be despite consequent political controversy which is inevitable when such decisions are made. otherwise, how does a poor country finance huge subsidies? It does not make any economic sense, unless we are thinking politics.
However, government must also ensure that corruption and unnecessary spending are not tolerated at all levels and departments of government. Otherwise, the resources that will be saved through the new fiscal initiatives , will only end up in the pockets of selfish government employees and the elite of the ruling party. So, come on Mutharika and DPP, fear and refrain from corruption and the systematic stealing of government resources through meaningless spending like taking more than 100 people for a UN General Assembly.
*Views in this article are those of the author and not Malawi24.