Government, through the Ministry of Education, Science and Technology, has abolished the quota system of selecting students to public universities and has reintroduced the Junior Certificate of Education (JCE).
Minister of Education, Science and Technology, William Susuwele-Banda, announced the development at a press conference on Thursday.
Susuwele-Banda said the abolition of quota system has been necessitated by the expected increase in enrolment of students into public universities in the country.
“Government initiated massive infrastructure development at tertiary level, coupled with the delinking of the University of Malawi into three independent universities; these universities will be allowed to take more students than ever before,” he said.
He added that introduction of Open Distance and E-Learning in public universities will also offer more hope and space for youth.
The quota system was first introduced during the Kamuzu Banda regime and was abolished by Banda’s successor Bakili Muluzi who ruled Malawi from 1994 to 2004.
The system was re-introduced by former president, late Bingu wa Mutharika, after he took over from Muluzi and was maintained by the Peter Mutharika administration.
Over the past years, President Peter Mutharika has faced calls to abolish the system which was also being used in selecting students to public secondary schools.
Speaking during the press conference, the Education Minister Susuwele-Banda said the ministry was using the system with a view to uplift disadvantaged groups in a society with limited opportunities for higher education.
He noted that numerous consultations with the society and academia have showed that there is a need to rethink on the issues of quality, equity and need to provide opportunities to well deserving students.
“Since Quota was introduced in 1987, the context has changed as we now have reasonable spaces. Quota System of selecting students into various colleges and universities is abolished forthwith. However, Government will continue with its affirmative action towards girls and students with disabilities including albinos,” said Banda.
On JCE, Banda said the decision to reintroduce the certificate has been taken after discovering that students were relaxing before writing Malawi School Certificate of Education exams.
The Minister added that the first examinations after the reintroduction will be administered in 2021.