‘Community colleges flop’


Members of Parliament (MPs) currently meeting in Lilongwe have described community technical colleges as a flop.

Most members who contributed to a debate on revelations of a report on the status of community technical colleges in the country compiled by the Social and Community Affairs Committee on Wednesday said the colleges are failing to thrive due to lack of effective policies to sustain the concept.

The report, which was first presented in the House during the last meeting but it was debated on Wednesday, paints a grim picture of the state of the colleges.


“About 90 percent of the colleges have dilapidated infrastructure and lack the most basic accommodation. There is also general unavailability of teaching and learning materials including tutors,” reads the report in part.

Chairperson of the committee Richard Chimwendo-Banda described the situation as pathetic.

“We visited almost all community colleges and what we saw is unbelievable. In Salima the hostels are uninhabitable and not fit to accommodate human beings; teaching and learning materials and equipment are so outdated and primitive. The situation is the same in all colleges we visited,” he said.


Chimwendo-Banda observed that the idea of community colleges was rushed adding that it was further complicated by government’s juggling of responsibility to run the colleges between ministries of Labour and Manpower Development and Education, Science and Technology.

“This messed up things so much and if proper policies were put in place, these community colleges would have been a significant component of our economy through increased business and job opportunities,” he said.

Ntchisi North East MP Alex Chitete specifically bemoaned the state of practical equipment in the colleges

“Most of it is either obsolete and out of pace with current technologies or in an unusable state. How do we expect to produce skilled people from such low standards?” Chitete wondered.

Minister of Labour and Manpower Development Henry Mussa confirmed that government is facing problems with the colleges

“You need to realise that we are mostly using old infrastructure such as school blocks some of which have stood for over 30 years. But plans are underway to construct new buildings to house these colleges. As for the equipment government is buying some while additional ones are being provided by countries such as India which has pledged to supply equipment,” Mussa said.

Other MPs also asked government to include start-up capital in whole community technical colleges’ package, a suggestion Mussa welcomed.

Government introduced community colleges with the aim of giving the youth skills to create jobs and earn a decent living and contribute to the country’s economy.

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