President Lazarus Chakwera has been installed as Champion of Higher Education in Africa by the Regional Universities Forum (Ruforum).
In his remarks during the event held at Kamuzu Palace in Lilongwe on Tuesday, Chakwera described the position as both humbling and demanding, saying it means he needs to work even harder to promote and support higher education on the continent.
He said: “I did not foresee that a day like his would come when Ruforum’s promotion of higher education would coincide with my own promotion, through my recent State of the Nation Address, of higher education for human capacity development as an accelerator towards my administration’s intent to create jobs, create wealth, and create food security.
“In fact, I did not even foresee that a day like is would come in which Ruforum would name me as a Champion for Higher Education in Africa.”
On his part, Ruforum executive secretary Adipala Ekwamu in an interview said the regional body has high expectations from Chakwera, including increased distribution of higher education access in all the regions.
He said: “We noticed that President Chakwera has been keen to promote higher education, but let me appeal to the President to continue giving access to education to all in Malawi in all the regions and not only to a particular region and also expand opportunities to all Malawians.”
Ekwamu added that by expanding opportunities to all Malawians, there is need to promote disadvantaged groups such as the girl child.
In a separate interview, Ruforum chairperson George Kanyama Phiri said they will continue working with partners to promote higher education in Africa. He said: “As universities, we shall continue to work with partners such as governments and the public in achieving development. For this to be meaningful, we look towards regional bodies to put in place investments and operational instruments.”