Let me start this article by walking down the memory lane. When the first Malawian vice-chancellor of the University of Malawi (Unima), Professor Brown Chimphamba, was retiring as head of Unima, he gave a few interviews one of which I have always found interesting. This is an interview he had with JJW.
I will write later in another article who JJW is. The interview was published in the Malawi Medical Journal of 2000. JJW: There must be events that you will always look back at with a great deal of sadness. Chimphamba: Yes, you are right, the arrests in the late 1990s and early 1980s of several members of the university.
The proposal in 1999 to split the university and make the various colleges stand-alone universities was also a depressing moment. I am pleased that this did not come to pass. Fast forward to 2012, this is exactly the opposite of what happened in 2012 when Bunda College became its own university. Time can change our perceptions. Time heals wounds.
I am interested to learn what made the learned professor of biology, Chimphamba, sad with the proposal to turn colleges such as Bunda into universities. Is the professor still saddened by what has happened which he dreaded, or he has moved on? Just thoughts of mine. By the way, Chimphamba’s PhD studies at the University College London was titled: Cyto-genetic studies in the Genus Iris.
Let me also bring to you my favourite quote for the month of February 2013. Pacharo Mkandawire, president of the graduating class of nurses from St Joseph’s Nursing School in Chiradzulu was quoted as saying: “As you know, we experienced a lot of frustrations after government announced that it would not support us. We had to source our own fees.” My interest is in the statement, “we had to source our own fees.” Who is supposed to source fees? Who is responsible for fees? What should be the role of government in college fees? These are not idle questions.
If an issue resulted in frustrations of college students, this could be an important question. I would like a healthy debate as to the role of government in paying school fees among college students.