National Council for Higher Education (Nche) has accredited Catholic University of Malawi (Cunima) to start offering a Bachelor of Law (Hons) programme, making it the first local private university to offer law.
In a circular dated October 6 2021, Cunima vice-chancellor George Buleya said the accreditation of the law programme followed a two-day joint assessment exercise by Nche and the Council for Legal Education on May 24 and 25 this year. The assessors recommended improvements in some areas, he said.
He said Nche on August 19 2021 visited Cunima in Chiradzulu for a verification exercise on the highlighted areas requiring improvement.
In the circular, Buleya said: “Today [Wednesday], in a letter dated 5th October 2021, we received the news we have been waiting for that at its 33rd meeting held on 30th September, 2021, the National Council for Higher Education resolved to accredit our Bachelor of Laws programme.
“Given the importance we ascribe to standards and independent assessment of our programmes and the long wait we have endured to have our law programme accredited, we regard this development as a milestone in the history of our university and, indeed, the history of legal education in Malawi.”
In an interview yesterday, Cunima dean of law John-Gift Mwakhwawa said the accreditation will open opportunities for many other aspiring young men and women who would not have had opportunity to study law at the University of Malawi.
He said: “Now they have an option and the numbers of graduates from these two law schools will go up. It means access to people’s legal representation will also be increased.”
Reacting to the development, Malawi Law Society president Patrick Mpaka welcomed the accreditation of Cunima law programme, describing it as a “progressive development”.
He said with the Malawi Institute of Legal Education now fully operational since 2018, the society hopes that other institutions of higher learning offering or planning to offer law degrees will work hard to meet the exacting standards that befit the law profession.