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Council pushes for relevant education

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The National Council for Higher Education (NCHE) has engaged the public and private institutions of higher learning in the improvement and impact of the kind of education that they offer.

The engagement is through a Tracer Study Training Workshop for higher education institutions which concludes Friday in Lilongwe.

According to NCHE Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Mathildah Chithila- Munthali, the workshop is expected to equip all institutions of higher learning, both public and private, with knowledge and skills in conducting tracers for curriculum development.

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She added that the implementation of tracer studies is an important part of the accreditation of programmes offered by institutions of higher learning in the country.

“When institutions of higher learning produce graduates who go into the market, there should be a match of what they learnt and what they are doing. The skills and competences that they have must be the ones needed on the labour market.

“So we expect that institutions of higher learning in the country will be conducting tracer studies at regular intervals. It could be one year or two years or three years,” said Chithila-Munthali.

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She added that the council will continue enforcing minimum standards in institutions of higher learning to make sure they are fit to offer higher education.

Ministry of Education Chief Director Charles Msosa, who officially opened the workshop, said government will ensure that tracer studies become a norm in institutions of higher learning so that they align themselves with development agenda.

He said without the feedback from graduates of institutions of higher learning, it is difficult to measure the impact of the kind of education that the institutions offer.

On his part, one of the facilitators of the workshop, Harald Schomburg, said without tracer studies, it is difficult to know the requirements on the labour market from institutions of higher learning.

“Institutions of higher learning may know little about what their graduates are doing and it may be difficult to know whether the education being offered has any impact on the labour market. There could be a mismatch between what the students have learnt and what is required on the labour market,” said Schomburg.

He added that in Germany, where he comes from, tracer studies are conducted regularly to inform the kind of education that institutions of higher learning offer.

Concerns have been raised many times before that some courses in institutions of higher learning do not respond to the development demands of the country.

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