About 300 students at the Polytechnic, a constituent college of the University of Malawi, could be forced to leave school this year for failing to pay K250 000 tuition fees.
The Polytechnic Dean of Students, Luciano Ndalama, confirmed that about 300 students have not yet registered and risk being withdrawn.
Said Ndalama: “The students are struggling to settle their school fees and could be forced to withdraw if they don’t register by the end of the semester. We are still making efforts to ensure that they continue with their education.”
These are students who have failed to access loans provided by the Higher Education Students Loans and Grants Board (Heslgb).
Lilongwe University of Agriculture and Natural Resources (Luanar) and Mzuzu University two weeks ago reported that 50 percent and 30 percent, respectively, of the enrolled students, fail to complete their education due financial problems.
Ndalama expressed hope that some students could get government support because the Heslgb has announced plans to increase the number of beneficiaries.
Meanwhile, to address the problem, the Polytechnic Students Union (PSU) has organised a fundraising dinner to source fees for the needy students.
According to PSU president, Frank Msiska, the dinner under the theme “develop the nation by educating a student’’ will take place tonight at Sunbird Mount Soche in Blantyre and aims at raising tuition fees for 259 students, which is about K85 million. He has since requested members of the public to attend.
Said Msiska: “The number of students pending withdrawal due to lack of financial support, especially tuition fees prompted us to organise this dinner which aims at sourcing K85 million to support the 295 self-sponsored students who pay K295 000 each.”
According to Msiska, various corporate companies, organisations and individuals are expected to attend the dinner where students from the college shall also showcase various skills that they have acquired in the course of their studies.
Gospel musician Ethel Kamwendo and other artists are geared to provide entertainment on the evening.
Amon Msekandiana, a self-sponsored student at the college told Weekend Nation that together with his colleagues they eat food from substandard and health risk places because they cannot afford K1 600 for a three square meal as per college cafeteria prices.
The Loans Board recently complained that it is struggling to cushion needy students with loans due to high default rates which currently stand at K1.7 billion. n