Chancellor College and Polytechnic students were on Friday saved by a whisker from an indefinite closure after they secured a High Court injunction stopping University of Malawi (Unima) Council from closing down the institutions.
Students from the two colleges have been boycotting classes, demanding that government should increase their living allowances to match with the current economic trends. They are also demanding a reduction in tuition fees, currently at K250 000 (about $625), to a “reasonable margin”.
But the Unima Council yesterday morning issued a memo informing the students about its decision to close the two colleges “with immediate effect following the students’ body to boycott classes.”
The memo advised students to leave by noon, thus, giving them six hours to vacate their campuses.
“The date for reopening of both colleges shall be announced later,” reads part of the memo, signed by university registrar, Trasizio Nampota.
When Weekend Nation visited The Polytechnic around 9.00am, scores of learners were seen departing from the campus while others were packing out of their hostels.
But the council’s decision was overturned when Blantyre High Court Judge Justice John Chirwa granted students an injunction before the 12.00 pm deadline.
Students Union of Chancellor College(Succ) president Israel Masiyano and Polytechnic Students Union (PSU) publicity director Dziwapo Emmanuel Chamutolo confirmed the development, describing it timely relief.
Masiyano hinted that threats of closing down the colleges will not cow the students away from their demands which, he said, are genuine.
“Our demands still stand. Life is very costly nowadays and it’s very unfortunate that instead of resolving our problems, the council is resorting to closure of the colleges,” said Masiyano.
Unima public relations officer, Akuzike Maliwichi, said the council would meet to chart the way forward.
“I will come to you with enough information after the meeting,” said Maliwichi.