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Civil Society Education Coalition for review of higher education laws

Civil Society Education Coalition (CSEC) has said it is pushing for a review of the University of Malawi Act and other higher education statutes to remove the provisions that automatically confer the chancellorship of public universities on a sitting president.

CSEC Executive Director, Benedicto Kondowe, said the current framing of the laws negatively affect delivery of academic services in public universities.

Section 13 of the University of Malawi Act gives priority to a sitting president to become Chancellor of the University of Malawi. Only when the president declines to be the Chancellor, that other individuals are offered the opportunity.

Kondowe said this is a worrisome development, especially in light of the conduct of President Peter Mutharika who he said lacks commitment to solve challenges facing public universities.

Kondowe argued that the University of Malawi Act and other similar laws must provide for recruitment of persons who have the expertise, passion and time to help in the development of public universities.

“These are archaic and retrospective laws. We now have many public universities and they cannot all be under one person who does not even have the passion and time for the development of the public universities,” he said.

Kondowe said CSEC already presented its stand on the matter to Parliament in 2012 and claimed that the position is shared by several other academics and commentators.

Chancellor College, a constituent college of the University of Malawi, has been closed for about six months following disagreements between lecturers and the University Council over salaries.

Various commentators including members of Parliament have faulted Mutharika for what they call lack of interest in resolving the dispute as the Chancellor of the University of Malawi.

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