President Peter Mutharika has challenged the University of Malawi (Unima) to explore alternative sources of financing instead of banking on government subvention.
The President, who is Chancellor of Unima, made the appeal during Unima’s 2018 fourth cohort graduation ceremony at Bingu International Convention Centre (Bicc) in Lilongwe on Wednesday.
He said it was time institutions of higher learning moved towards self-sustainability for their operations and growth.
Said Mutharika: “We need to make sure that all universities are committed to principles of accountability. Higher education institutions should be open, transparent and accountable.
“However, they should not depend on subvention of resources. Let us find alternatives of financing universities. We need to find ways of funding universities. So, it is an appeal to all Malawians to unite and build an inclusive society.”
In an interview on the President’s sentiments, Civil Society Education Coalition (Csec) executive director Benedicto Kondowe said the idea was welcome. He said public universities, including Unima, have the capacity to generate own resources to become financially-independent.
Unima Vice-Chancellor Professor John Kalenga Saka also welcomed Mutharika’s call, saying it is a good policy the university can implement alongside the existing initiatives.
He said: “That is a very important policy direction from the Head of State. Any university has got a number of streams for funding. We, the public sector, have the normal subvention, but as a university we charge fees for various programmes.
“Receipt of fees constitutes a very important revenue stream for us. But equally, since we participate in research and provision of consultancy services, the overheads from these windows are an important component. What is needed is that resources we generate should be used for the intended purpose.”
Saka said in a bid to sustain self-financing, Unima is currently strengthening systems and processes to enable it to move further in terms of international ranking.
During the graduation ceremony, 91 graduands received postgraduate academic accolades while 388 got bachelor’s degrees. In all, there were 193 females.
Unima is the oldest of the country’s four functional public universities having been established in 1965. The others are Mzuzu University, Lilongwe University of Agriculture and Natural Resources and Malawi University of Science and Technology.
Unima is currently undergoing a restructuring process that will see three of its four constituent colleges—The Polytechnic, College of Medicine and Kamuzu College of Nursing—delinked to form autonomous universities.