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Cham students’ future in limbo

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By Samuel Kalimira:

The future of the government-sponsored students at colleges under Christian Health Association of Malawi (Cham) is in limbo as college principals have resolved not to invite them next semester.

This is so because the government is apparently failing to release over K400 million funding for two quarters that run from July to December 2018.

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Ministry of Health, through Treasury, was supposed to release K319 million for school fees to nine Cham institutions out of 11 by September, 2018.

Cham Colleges Principals Association chairperson, Esau Kasonda, said the colleges have operated on debts for the two quarters and that food suppliers are no longer willing to support the colleges in the third quarter.

Kasonda said the government’s failure to release funding has paralysed many operations in the colleges including the learning process.

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“We are not inviting the government-sponsored students in all our colleges unless we receive the funding. We have been engaging the Ministry [of Health] since July and we feel we are not a priority.

“Therefore, we cannot be still keeping the students because we will not manage to feed them. To make matters worse, food suppliers are on our neck,” Kasonda said.

He then said Cham college principals had discussions with Secretary for Health, Dan Namalika, who promised to push Treasury to release the funds before January 7, 2019.

Ministry of Health spokesperson, Joshua Malango, asked for more time before responding to our questions on the matter.

But in a letter which The Daily Times has seen which Namalika addressed to Secretary to Treasury, Ben Botolo, the former is asking for additional funding.

“Over the years the ministry has been reducing its training activities to match the level of financial provision. However, the monthly funding has not been adequate to meet the financial obligation for payment of student fees.

“This has been resulting into the ministry accumulating arrears in student fees amounting to K319,477,666. This figure may increase further if we go beyond the month of October 2018 since we are invoiced quarterly,” part of the letter reads.

Efforts to speak to Botolo proved futile as he could not pick our calls.

National Organisation of Nurses and Midwives president, Shouts Simeza, recently said the country has a shortage of nurses hence the need to train more of them.

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