University of Malawi Students Union (Umsu) is seeking an audience with President Peter Mutharika in his capacity as Chancellor of the University of Malawi (Unima) to map the way forward on the fees hike standoff.
Umsu president Tionge Sikwese confirmed in a telephone interview yesterday that the union agreed to take this route at an Umsu meeting held on Saturday at Kamuzu College of Nursing (KCN) campus in Lilongwe.
“We were trying to map the way forward during our meeting on Saturday. We decided to seek an audience with the University Chancellor to discuss the fees hike issue. We want him to reconsider the fees hike and the negative impact it will have on students if government is to go ahead with it,” said Sikwese.
He said the union will today deliver a letter to the Office of the President and Cabinet (OPC) requesting the meeting with Mutharika.
The meeting was also attended by student union leaders from other public universities of Mzuzu University (Mzuni), Lilongwe University of Agriculture and Natural Resources (Luanar) and Malawi University of Science and Technology (Must).
Umsu transport director Gift Banda said if they are granted audience with Mutharika, the leaders from the other public universities will also be in attendance.
Umsu says they want to propose a more rational fee hike, among other issues.
Said Sikwese: “If government still feels a hike is necessary, then those who pay K55 000 should pay K100 000. Those who pay K250 000 should pay K275 000, those who pay K275 000 should pay K280 000 and for the first years starting, they should pay K300 000.
“The fees for mature students from College of Medicine and KCN should not be raised because they are already expensive. Mature students from the Polytechnic and Chancellor College should pay K400 000.”
He said they would like to meet the President this week.
When queried about the petitions to the President from KCN students from Lilongwe and Blantyre campuses, Sikwese said college Student Unions cannot request to meet with the Chancellor, only Umsu can.
“When KCN delivered their petition, they requested for the President to intervene not to meet him. It is not possible for them to do so,” he said.