University of Malawi (UNIMA) students have expressed pessimism over stability of their academic calendar due to persistent closures of colleges.
The University which enshrines four colleges, Chancellor College, College of Medicine, Kamuzu College of Nursing and Malawi Polytechnic, face academic calendars distortions. Some of its constituent colleges have many times gone on forced breaks.
With Chancellor College and Polytechnic being the main victims, students enrolled with the institutions fear for extension of their study duration. They argue, closures will see them stuck in the corridors of the colleges for extra years should action not be taken.
Some students from the two colleges shared their sentiments on the matter to this publication, on condition of anonymity. They said they are not sure as to how many years they will spend in college since their calendars keep on getting delayed.
“Am not certain because even without demonstrations we usually have long holidays which as well affect our academic calendar,” said a female 3rd year Polytechnic student.
A final year Humanities student at Chancellor College said he is in 4th year just on paper as the reality on the ground tells a different story.
“I may be celebrating being in my fourth and final year but who knows? I may be stuck at this level for two more years,” he said.
On a positive note, the parliamentary committee on education summoned Universities two weeks ago. The meeting was aimed at identifying problems leading to premature breaks and then map the way forward.
Vice Chancellors for all public Universities were in attendance since the problem transcends to all public institutions of higher learning. Their inputs on the matter had money problems in common.
The Malawi government is also not pleased with the closures that on many occasions it has preached dialogue as a solution.
Its negative stance on demonstrations was made clear when Chancellor College was closed after students took to the streets in protest against fees hike.
Last year Polytechnic was closed over the same protests, a holiday that spilled over to this year. Mzuzu University students also went on forced break after members of staff demanded a salary increase.