Chakwera, Chilima urged to fulfill promise on university fees

President Lazarus Chakwera and Vice President Saulos Chilima  have been urged to fulfill their promise of ensuring that students do not drop out of school due to lack of fees

Activist Onjezani Kenani has made the call today after he was inundated with requests from students asking for assistance. Kenani who recently raised fees for one student, said he has received 32 cases asking for help with fees.

He noted that fundraisers may not be sustainable since there are few people who are able to contribute but the needed amounts are huge.

“There are students from universities and colleges who are truly struggling, and their future is at stake. Is there a way the government could help them? The Loans Board appears not to accommodate some of the most compelling cases.

“The Tonse government promised on the campaign podium that no child will fail to complete college because of fees. Now is the time to fulfill that promise. Our crowdfunding solution should only deal with very rare circumstances, for example one-off stop-gap requests,” he posted on Facebook.

Last month, thirty Malawi College of Health Science (MSCE) students also complained that they had been barred from sitting for end of semester exams over fees.

President Chakwera who leads Malawi Congress Party and Vice President Chilima who leads UTM told Malawians during the presidential campaigns in 2019 and 2020 that they will make sure students have access to fees.

“UTM shall ensure that no deserving child fails to go to school because of lack of school fees at primary level, secondary level or in public universities,” reads part of the UTM manifesto.

The MCP in its manifesto said “it will ensure that all deserving students access tertiary education and are enabled to complete their programmes with particular focus on those coming from economically challenged or poor backgrounds identified through robust system of means testing.”

The party added that it will “review the existing university fee structures with the view of coming up structures that enable universities meet their obligations but at the same time ensuring that university education is affordable to all deserving Malawians.”

Since forming Government under the Tonse Alliance, Chakwera and Chilima have not taken action to address the challenges university students face in regards to fees. The two have been blaming the Coronavirus pandemic for their failure to implement campaign promises.

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