Malawi President Joyce Banda has expressed concern over limited space in public universities, saying the situation does not properly reflect the period the country has been an independent State.
Banda said this when she presided over the 14th graduation ceremony at Mzuzu University (Mzuni) where 400 students were awarded bachelors degrees while four received masterâ€™s degrees. She said by now, the public universities should have had a capacity of over 15 000 students.
During the occasion, Banda was installed Mzuzu University Chancellor. She becomes the third chancellor after Bakili Muluzi and late Bingu wa Mutharika.
The President said limited space also gave room for segregation as other students were left out of the system because of where they come from. She said the victims were future doctors and other professionals the country cannot afford to lose.
â€œIt is a tragedy to have students who have 10 points and below, but cannot go to public universities because of space or where they come from,â€ said Banda.
As part of her contribution towards tertiary education in the country, the President said her Joyce Banda Foundation will offer 25 scholarships to such students. She said they will study in USA and called upon them to apply.
She also said her government will consider partnering with the available six private universities to accommodate government-sponsored students.
During a tour of Mzuni, the President said she was concerned that construction of World Bank-funded infrastructure, which was supposed to increase intake at the school, stalled.
â€œI have learnt with dismay that infrastructure development by the World Bank that would have eased space problems met implementation bottlenecks through the Ministry of Education, Science and Technology. This was unfortunate. On the other hand, I am happy that it is being addressed.
â€œWhat is most pleasing to learn is that the African Development Bank will soon be providing financial resources to expand facilities for information and communications technology, library and learning resources, open and distance learning and business centre
â€œIt is, therefore, my plea that measures are put in place that this does not meet the same fate as the World Bank Project which was poorly implemented,â€ said Banda.