Public Private Partnership Commission (PPPC) is inviting bids from private sector players to partner government in the construction of hostels to ease accommodation challenges in public universities.
In an advertisement on MOnday, PPPC described the project as a “high value” venture with long-term benefits to the economy and the investor assured.
Reads the advert in part: “Interested investors are, therefore, required to demonstrate adequate knowledge of construction of high learning institution accommodation.”
In the notice, PPPC said public universities are in need of hostels in varying degrees and sizes as some only have one campus whereas others have more than one campus and student accommodation is required in all campuses.
Ministry of Education, Science and Technology (MoEST) spokesperson Manfred Ndovi said the initiative is set to fill the accommodation gap in the country’s public universities after government increased student intake over three years ago on arrangement that some live off campus.
He said: “We are deliberately engaging the private sector because we want the sector to be involved in development of this country but also government on its own cannot afford to fund the construction of the hostels in all public universities.”
Malawi has four functional public universities, namely University of Malawi (Unima), which is the oldest and biggest, Mzuzu University, Lilongwe University of Agriculture and Natural Resources (Luanar) and Malawi University of Science and Technology (Must).
The hostel project comes amid challenges of accommodation in the public universities, most notably in Unima and Luanar institutions.
Two weeks ago, about 450 students from Luanar’s Bunda Colleg were transferred to the nearby Mitundu Secondary School after the University Council ordered demolition of substandard private hostels that houses some students.
Bunda College has about 3 000 students but functional hostels at the institution can only accommodate about 700. n