The Lilongwe University of Agriculture and Natural Resources (Luanar) has approached the private sector to help address accommodation challenges at the institution.
The institution has since started leasing out its land to interested private investors who can construct student hostels.
The development comes at a time when Luanar has increased student intake since it was delinked from the University of Malawi (Unima) some three years ago. The institution has a student population of about 3 500 students.
Unlike other public institutions of higher learning such as The Polytechnic in Blantyre and Chancellor College in Zomba, Luanar’s Bunda campus is situated 30 kilometres from Lilongwe City; a situation that aggravates accommodation and transportation challenges at the university.
Speaking in an interview over the weekend, Luanar’s vice-chancellor George Kanyama-Phiri said most of their students reside off–campus which he says is not conducive to learning.
Said Kanyama-Phiri: “In my thinking, hostels are a quick money spinner. We are inviting interested investors to construct some hostels under a lease in what is now known as the Public-Private Partnership [PPP]. We are even extending the invitation to our alumni.”
The vice-chancellor said that they also discussed with Malawi Housing Corporation (MHC) who pledged to construct 100 staff houses.
Luanar is also said to be in talks with an unnamed South Africa Property Consultancy firm to help ease the accommodation woes through a Build, Operate and Transfer arrangement.
Under such an arrangement, the private sector builds infrastructure, operates it and eventually transfers ownership to government. This ensures the firm recoups its initial investment in a reasonable time span.