15 August 2016 Last updated at: 10:00 AM
Government has money to pay for us – Malawi University students say
Despite authorities citing economic woes as justification for the controversial fees hike, students from University of Malawi (UNIMA) have claimed that government has enough money to pay for every student in public universities.
President for Students Union at Chancellor College which is a constituent college of UNIMA Sylvester Ayuba James said government can afford to pay for students in the public colleges arguing that staff members are enjoying expensive benefits from the public purse for being in the university council.
“Just recently government bought expensive Toyota fortuners for all principals, if that money was saved it could have made a difference to a student in our colleges. “Also most of the time I wonder why we have other structures that make tertiary education to be expensive in Malawi, we have a chancellor, vice chancellor and pro vice chancellor, why can’t we have one person to cut costs,” said James.
He further claimed that education is a social service meant to be provided by government to its citizens in Malawi. “Yes education is expensive but we should know that it’s a social service that government should provide to people and to me it was supposed to be free, but due to other factors that is why we see people paying little something,” said James.
Ayuba also took to task the council for relying on funds from government and student contributions arguing that the council should have other sources of getting money.
His idea of having other sources of funding was seen to be supported by Chinua Achebe’s quote – that says “Eneke the bird says that since men have learned to shoot without missing, he has learned to fly without perching” – arguing that the council should cope with the economic hardships in the country.
Recently, the University Council hiked fees for University of Malawi’s generic students from K275,000 to K400,000 but after demonstrations, President Peter Mutharika agreed to cut the hike by K50,000.