President Peter Mutharika yesterday assented into law the Bills to split the University of Malawi (Unima).
This means from now, apart from sorting out other administrative issues such as appointment of registrars and other university positions and financing, the constituent colleges of Unima become standalone universities.
State House director of communications Bright Molande confirmed the development in a response to a questionnaire yesterday.
He said: “This means the President has endorsed creation of new universities from this day.
“Our goal as government is to create more space for more students to access university while, at the same time, encouraging competition and efficiency in the running of public universities.”
He added that the President has made a huge decision that would change the landscape of university education in Malawi.
During the Mid-Year Budget Review meeting of Parliament last month, Parliament passed three Bills on the de-linking of Unima. The Malawi Polytechnic will now be called Malawi University of Business and Applied Sciences while College of Medicine and Kamuzu College on Nursing have been combined and will now be called Malawi University of Health Sciences.
In August 2017, the Unima Council endorsed the delinking of the colleges following a go-ahead from Mutharika, who is Unima Chancellor, for the delinking to begin.
According to the Unima Act, Section 10 (j), the council has powers, after consultations with the Senate, to establish, institute or discontinue colleges, faculties, schools or such other academic sections to specialised colleges.
The delinking of the three colleges will leave Chancellor College as Unima.
It comes after Bunda College of Agriculture was delinked from Unima in 2011 and merged with Natural Resources College to form Lilongwe University of Agriculture and Natural Resources.
Proponents of the idea to unbundle Unima argued the unbundling would bring competition among the universities which are The Malawi Polytechnic, Chancellor College, College of Medicine and Kamuzu College of Nursing.
They also argued that the university had overgrown and it was becoming difficult for authorities to effectively manage its affairs from the Unima Office in Zomba.