Malawi is not faring well in promoting research and knowledge generation in its academic systems among the country’s institutions of higher learning, government has admitted.
Minister of Education, Science and Technology Emmanuel Fabiano also says the country could have been ‘somewhere better’ in terms of its socio-economic status if applied research were encouraged and its findings put to a good use.
Fabiano said this on Wednesday in Lilongwe at the official joint launch of Africa’s centres of excellence in both the University of Malawi (Unima), and the Lilongwe University of Agriculture and Natural Resources (Luanar).
He said: “I am not only talking about basic research here, we have always lacked more on applied research. The latter, if promoted, stands a better chance of becoming meaningful in responding to the needs of the general populace at a particular period.”
Luanar is now an African Centre of Excellence for Aquaculture and Fisheries Science (AquaFish,) whilst Unima’s College of Medicine will be a Centre of Excellence for Public Health and Herbal Medicine (Acephem) for the region.
“The establishment of these centres of excellence in our two university institutions now presents the country with some renewed hope. Not only will we be able to help in finding solutions to social challenges affecting the region such as diseases; we will also benefit a lot from collaborative research with various international partners.”
Luanar acting vice-chancellor Professor Emmanuel Kaunda said the development was no mean achievement for his university, arguing that the institution had moved a step further and is no longer just a recognised regional leader in the area of aquaculture and fisheries.
The university was first designated by the New Partnership for Development (Nepad) as a centre of excellence in aquaculture and fisheries under the Southern Network of BioSciences (SANBio) in 1994. n