The University of Malawi (Unima) Council on Thursday assured President Peter Mutharika that The Polytechnic, one of the four Unima constituent colleges, will reopen within the next three weeks.
Presidential press secretary Mgeme Kalilani said Mutharika met newly-appointed members of the Unima Council and the university’s management at Kamuzu Palace in Lilongwe to appreciate the plans the council has put in place to reopen the college.
“The President was pleased to receive a report that the council of the university is set to re-open The Polytechnic within the next three weeks. Professor Mutharika was also delighted to hear that a group of concerned parents from all regions is engaging the university to open the college.
“In the current university fees structure, parents contribute 16 percent whereas government meets the bill of 84 percent per student at The Polytechnic. The President hereby commends these parents for recognising the need to share the cost of university education,” he said in a statement released on Friday.
Meanwhile, Unima is today scheduled to meet The Polytechnic’s management, Polytechnic Students Union (PSU) executive members, University of Malawi Students Union (Umsu) executive members and parents’ representatives at Kamuzu College of Nursing (KCN) Lilongwe Campus to discuss the impending opening of The Polytechnic.
According to a memo from the Unima registrar to Unima vice-chancellor, pro-vice chancellor, university finance officer, The Polytechnic principal and finance officers, Umsu president and representatives of parents of The Polytechnic students, the meeting is scheduled to start from 10am.
“We note that Monday is a holiday but exigencies of the matter behoove us to hold this meeting in order to show commitment and avoid unnecessary delays,” reads the memo dated January 12 2016.
After that meeting, on Saturday, January 21, the Unima Council will hold its own meeting where it has only invited the PSU president, the Umsu president and parents’ representatives; this is according to a memorandum from the PSU to all Polytechnic students released on Saturday.
Initially, The Polytechnic was supposed to open on October 3 2016 for first-year students and on October 10 2016 for continuing students, but the Unima Council deferred the opening to an unspecified date after PSU obtained a court injunction restraining authorities from implementing hiked tuition fees during the new academic year.
The students wanted authorities to maintain the old fees structure of K55 000 and K250 000 for government and self-sponsored students, respectively, instead of implementing the hiked fees which is now at K350 000 per student.
On October 19 2016, the High Court ruled in favour of the students, in absence of the council’s lawyer and representatives.
However, in November, the council appealed the ruling and on December 12 2016, the High Court ruled in favour of the students again. n