Last week we, Abiti Joyce Befu, MG 66, the Most Paramount Native Authority Mandela, Alhajj Sheikh Jean-Philippe LePoisson, SC (RTD), and I, Malawi’s only Mohashoi, fell into a trap that we, as communication professionals, should have avoided in the first place. Most journalistic, political, pastoral, legal or moral communication, fails because of clutter, which is the crime one commits when one utters orally or in writing too many equally important issues in the same breath.
Last week, we committed the communication clutter crime because we presented five proposals that we thought Malawi could pick from as we struggle to fund higher education in Malawi. We made all those proposals because, we maintain, education in a poor country like Malawi is not a luxury to be tied to fees but a necessity this generation must invest in as it prepares a more successful and Cashgateless-minded future generation. The success of Singapore, China and now Rwanda came about because those countries started by investing wholeheartedly in the development of their human resources. It is an obligation we must espouse and never run away from.
We acknowledge the annual contribution ZBS makes towards the promotion of brilliant girls who earn Chinese scholarships to study in the land of the Red Dragon. However, we believe, sponsoring Malawians to study abroad does not empower local higher education institutions. Whence our proposal that local and international philanthropists, local and international banks, local and international hospitals, local and international mobile phone service providers, local and international NGOs, local and international media organisations; local and international herbalists and researchers; local and international rubber and timber manufacturers, and, most importantly, local private and, especially, public businesses such as our Press Corporation Limited (PCL) and Electricity Supply Corporation of Malawi (Escom) should be obliged by law to sponsor higher education in Malawi. After all, these institutions are the biggest beneficiaries of local university graduates.
Funding university student weekend beer drinking sprees, call them bashes, does not contribute much to uplifting local higher education. Building pit latrines around primary schools may be good but is not commensurate with the social status of institutions like the National Bank of Malawi (NBM).
This is why we want our PCL to sponsor something more serious than traditional dances. PCL should establish scholarships for students to access local universities. If comparatively small private institutions like Nation Publications Limited (NPL) are able to partner with UNICAF University to provide merit-based scholarship for that university’s MBA studentship, why should comparatively big private institutions like Airtel fail to own and sponsor an entire telecoms engineering programme at UNIMA?
If relatively small public institutions like the National Oil Company of Malawi (Nocma) are able to sponsor secondary school girls to participate in science fairs at the Malawi University of Science Technology (MUST), why should indisputably large public institution like PCL do nothing, at all? n