Polytechnic students have raised about K89 million (about $139 937) to support 300 needy students who were at risk of dropping out from the University of Malawi (Unima) constituent college due to lack of tuition fees.
The students, through Polytechnic Students Union (PSU), held a fundraising dinner at Sunbird Mount Soche in Blantyre on Saturday.
PSU president Frank Mchupuka Msiska could not hide his joy in an interview yesterday.
He said they have managed to beat their target which was K81 million (about $127 358) to end students drop out being resulting from economic hardships facing many parents and guardians.
“This night I agree with Dolly Parton that storms make trees take deeper roots because government
Alone cannot afford to support the increasing numbers of needy students in public universities and that has led us to the realisation of engaging the private sector, alumni and potential individuals which am immeasurably grateful to for the support rendered,” said Msiska in a speech made available to The Nation.
The Polytechnic dean of students Luciano Ndalama expressed happiness towards the development and he attributed its success to good partnership with the college’s alumni.
He said the funds will be invested as a revolving loan to pay tuition for the needy students who will be required to refund upon completion of their studies. Among others, conglomerate Press Corporation Limited (PCL) made a substantial contribution towards supporting the tuition fees for the needy students.
PCL group chief executive officer Mathews Chikaonda, who was the guest of honour, said Malawians have potential to rescue students who are forced to withdraw on financial grounds.
He said: “Malawians have money that can support the needy in the country. Imagine one [Toyota] Prado costs more than K81 million which would cater for around 300 students, but people manage to purchase four such vehicles at once.
“If we all stand up to help the needy students, we will make a meaningful difference and Malawi will develop.”
The PSU conducted the dinner in conjunction with the alumni of the college.
Audrey Mwala, a senior manager at Public-Private Partnership Commission (PPPC) and an alumni of the college, said on the sidelines of the dinner that the alumni decided to take part in organising the event as a return to education they acquired at the college.
Civil Society Education Coalition (Csec) executive director Benedicto Kondowe, has hailed PSU for taking a step to secure funds to support their members instead of just waiting on government interventions.
Tuition fees for self-sponsored students at the college is K275 000 per academic year and failure to raise the amount leads to withdrawal on financial grounds.n