Malawi Polytechnic students say they feel let down by President Peter Mutharika’s inaction over the continued closure of the college and have wondered if the president is aware of the institution’s existence.
In a statement released by the Polytechnic Students Union (PSU) on Monday, the students expressed worry over the silence of Mutharika and Minister of Education Dr. Emmanuel Fabiano on the standoff.
According to the students, they thought Mutharika who is the Chancellor of University of Malawi (Unima) would make sure that such woes across colleges in the country should be a thing of the past considering that he is the champion of higher education across Africa.
The statement proceeds that when Mutharika ascended to office in 2014, ambitious young Malawians were overwhelmed with bliss knowing that an academician, who understands best how universities should operate having previously served as Ministry of Education and having been a tutor at one of the most prestigious Universities in the United States of America would head them.
“However, four months down this thorny path, the chancellor has uttered no single word on the matter, to the extent that we tend to wonder if he is even aware of the existence of a University called Polytechnic,” Reads part of the statement.
“The PSU kindly requests the chancellor to intervene in this stalemate. He needs to realise that the scholars of these closed college are not just youngsters, but ambitious individuals who solely rely on education to break through the chains of poverty gripping Mother Malawi by her throat,” adds the statement.
The PSU also expressed surprise that Fabiano has not taken any action so far even though he admitted that University Councils in the country are failing to run the public universities.
The PSU however acknowledged that the Chancellor (Mutharika) is the only hope to save thousands of young Malawians who are just wasting away time at home as if they have nothing to contribute to the development of this country.
According to the statement, the delay has had effects on the students as they are being denied access to education as stipulated in Section 25 of the constitution of the country that every Malawian has a right to education.
The statement adds that despite the closure, the college is incurring costs on a daily basis which is a serious concern considering the current economic hardships.
“It is even more worrying, for an economically handicapped nation to be losing millions of Kwachas instead of utilising the little resources wisely,” reads the statement.
The Polytechnic was set to open on 10th October, 2016 but the opening was deferred after the students obtained an injunction to stop the college from implementing a fees hike during the current academic year.
The Polytechnic administration claimed that PSU and the Unima Council needed to sort out the fees hike matter before the college could be opened.
Apart from Polytechnic, three other public colleges are also closed but Mutharika is not intervening on the matter. The colleges that are also closed are Mzuzu University, Natural Resources College and Malawi College of Health Sciences.
Meanwhile, union leaders of the closed colleges will meet today to strategize on the way forward.