The Ministry of Education, Science and Technology says an Act of Parliament is not required for the abolishment of quota system to be valid since a verbal pronouncement is enough.
Principal Secretary in the Ministry of Education Justin Saidi made the remarks in a press statement released on Friday.
Saidi was reacting to assertions by the Quota Must Fall Movement (QMFM) that the decision to abolish the quota system of selecting students to public universities is not valid because it was not legislated.
According to Saidi, such claims are based on ignorance and lack of appreciation of how government policies are drawn and implemented.
He said abolition of quota system which was announced on 27th February, 2020 does not require an Act of Parliament.
“Government policies come and go in so many ways including executive orders, policy decisions, policy pronouncements, etc. And these can be verbal or written. If it was legislated before, we would have revoked it before making the pronouncement,” said Saidi.
According to Saidi, the abolition of quota was done in good faith and was a product of a long process of consultation and research taken by the Government with key stakeholders in the education sector including the Church and Society of the Livingstonia Synod of the CCAP
“In addition, the abolition of quota system follows several developments that will ensure more student space in tertiary institutions than before,” he said.
The quota system was re-introduced in Malawi by former president, late Bingu wa Mutharika, who ruled the country between 2004 and 2012.
The system was maintained by the Peter Mutharika administration. Over the past years, Mutharika has faced calls to abolish the system as critics argued that it was discriminatory.
The Quota Must Fall Movement, one of the groups fighting the policy, claimed that the system was also being used in selecting students to public secondary schools and the group threatened to close secondary schools in the Northern Region of the country.
However, Saidi said selection of learners from primary to secondary school never used quota system but was purely based on merit.