Malawi University of Science and Technology (Must), the country’s fourth public university situated at Ndata Farm in Thyolo, is set for opening in January 2014, but without staff houses, library books and other key equipment.
The imposing structure, a dream of former president the late Bingu wa Mutharika, had its proposed K7 billion (about $17.5m) slashed to only K1.6 billion (about $4m).
But officials are worried that Malawi government bureaucracy might further delay the procurement of the necessary furniture.
Briefing members of Malawi Parliamentary Committee on Education, Science and Human Resources who toured the campus on Tuesday, Must team leader Dr. Moses Chinyama said the institution still has outstanding issues.
Said Chinyama: “We all agree we have a magnificent university. This is a well done institution. Most units are almost complete. The library has no piece of books or equipment. The cafeteria is ready, but we need to put in furniture. We don’t have laboratories, yet these are very crucial to this institution.”
He also pointed out that the road network, institutional houses and water supply remain other outstanding issues.
One of the members of the Must council, Dr Bernard Zingano, stated that laboratories, books, furniture, road network, housing and other equipment were not included in the initial planning stage of the university which has been constructed with a grant from China.
Must council chairperson Professor John Saka pleaded for support from committee members and the entire National Assembly.
He said science, engineering and technology, the university’s core area, are pivotal for the country’s economic growth.
Saka announced that the university has developed a motto ‘Doing business unusual’.
The university has, however, not determined fees and selection criteria of the first intake slated for January next year targeting 140 students. The university can take 3 000 students.
Must project coordinator Tarsizio Nampota said council will make the determination when it meets.
Currently, the water supply system is being worked on and would be ready by October end whereas electricity from the main Escom grid will be connected in December 2013. For the meantime, there is a temporary arrangement of electricity supply to the institution.
The university’s first intake will be concentrated on Bachelor of Chemical Engineering, Bachelor of Engineering in Metrology and Materials; Master of Science in Innovation and postgraduate diploma in entrepreneurship.
Unesco has pledged to support the curriculum and staff development.