President Lazarus Chakwera Thursday said he would continue to accept the chancellorship of universities until the Ministry of Education harmonises the Universities Act to repeal and replace the current Acts as a way of rectifying this anomaly.
Chakwera made the clarification when awarding certificates to 415 students who completed their studies at Lilongwe University of Agriculture and Natural Resources (Luanar), where he has been installed Chancellor of the university.
This is contrary to his earlier position, where he categorically said management of universities should be left to technocrats.
“My remarks calling for a review of this practice were a statement of intent. It is my expectation that the Minister of Education, here present, is developing a harmonised Universities Act. Until that is done, I am duty-bound to comply with the laws presently in force,” Chakwera said.
Speaking as Chancellor of the University, Chakwera challenged universities to produce students that are innovative.
“We can no longer afford to have colleges that focus on solving problems that no longer exist, or merely solving those problems in existence today. As a nation, if we do not develop this critical skill of anticipating and solving tomorrow’s problems, we will never break the vicious cycle of operating in a perpetual state of crisis management,” he said.
Additionally, the President said the nation was hoping that agriculture experts would contribute to hunger-eradication efforts.
Luanar Vice Chancellor George Kanyama Phiri said the university was committed to helping the government achieve its development agenda.
He challenged graduates to be engineers of change in the country.
“Provide the much needed knowledge and innovativeness that should address the specific needs of the people,” Kanyama Phiri said.
Luanar Council Chairperson Zachary Kasomekera said the council would strive to produce innovative graduates.
Meanwhile, Ministry of Education Principal Secretary Chikondano Mussa has said the ministry would start working on the process of repealing the Act following the President’s statement.
“Since the President has just said something about the Act today, my Ministry will work on the matter,” Mussa said.
Legal expert Justin Dzonzi said, as long as it is provided for in the Act that the President should be chancellor, the law must be followed to the letter.
At least 1,090 students have graduated from different academic fields.