Parliament yesterday rejected a $50 million (about K20 billion) Loan Authorisation Bill for government to borrow funds from the World Bank to finance increasing access to higher education at the University of Malawi (Unima) colleges, vocational education provider Teveta and Mzuzu University (Mzuni).
The rejection took government by surprise after it received overwhelming support from most members of Parliament (MPs), but Leader of the House Francis Kasaila has said they will re-engage the MPs.
Said Kasaila: “We are disappointed as government because this bill is very important. We know there is an issue of quota system and also that so many youths have nothing to do and there is also a need to increase the university intake, so we thought they would support us, but they have thought otherwise.”
Minister of Finance, Economic Planning and Development Goodall Gondwe tabled the Loan Authorisation Bill in Parliament yesterday, asking MPs to support the design of high quality and relevant education programmes which would be delivered through open and distance learning (ODL).
The skills development project will target the three public colleges and Teveta with funding using disbursements linked indicators which means they will only be funded after meeting specific targets.
Responding to the bill, Malawi Congress Party MP Jessie Kabwila said increasing access to tertiary education should go alongside infrastructure and human resource development.