Parliament yesterday gave government the go-ahead to borrow $50.9 million (about K20 billion) from the International Development Association (IDA) of the World Bank to finance increasing access to higher education in Malawi.
Targeted beneficiary institutions include the University of Malawi (Unima) constituent colleges—Chancellor and The Polytechnic, the Lilongwe University of Agriculture and Natural Resources (Luanar). Mzuzu University (Mzuni) and Technical, Entrepreneurial and Vocational Education Training Authority (Teveta) will also benefit.
In winding up debate on the bill, Minister of Finance, Economic Planning and Development Goodall Gondwe said the loan will support the design of high quality and relevant education programmes to be delivered through open and distance learning (ODL).
Gondwe told Parliament: “The loan will facilitate the increase in enrolment and engendering of ODL programmes at Luanar, for example, as well as increasing intake with the aim of increasing access to employment-oriented people at Teveta, on the other hand.
“At The Polytechnic, the funds will introduce a new programme in sciences and engineering as well as four mining programmes, four technician diploma in engineering programmes and nine engineering programmes at master’s level.”
According to Gondwe, The Polytechnic will get a lion’s share with $10 million allocated, Mzuni will have $9 million, Chancellor College $8 million while Luanar and Teveta will each get $5 million. The remainder is for administrative issues.
“Like I said when I was moving the motion to debate the bill, we are moving to where the Ministry of Labour will take a leading role in the development of skills training and Teveta has been chosen as a vehicle which will lead that. Hence, the inclusion of Teveta on the list of institutions of higher learning to benefit from this bill,” he said.
The K20 billion (US$48 661 800.5) loan is also expected to support expansion of infrastructure and facilities at the public colleges, development and revision of curricula, staff development, but also procurement of teaching and learning materials.
The loan will be repaid over 40 years inclusive of a 10-year grace period and has a 0.5 percent commitment charge and 0.75 service charge.