Luanar fees disparity sparks outrage
Discrepancies in tuition fees at Bunda and Natural Resources College – NRC, under the Lilongwe University of Agriculture and Natural Resources (Luanar), have sparked an outrage as guardians are questioning its justification.
Malawi News understands that the students were on 2017/18 selection list by the
National Council for Higher Education (NCHE).
One of the students’ parents who spoke on condition of anonymity said his daughter, together with 35 other students who are doing BSc in Food Technology at NRC campus are paying almost double the amount paid by their counterparts at Bunda Campus.
“For example, whereas Bunda students are paying K 362,500 per year, NRC students are paying K652,500 per year (K 326,250 per semester). On top of that, NRC also accepts private applications for its degree programme and the private students are combined with NCHE selected students and they both pay same fees,” he said.
Luanar Registrar, Philip Kaonda said though he is aware of the issue, he did not receive a formal complaint from the parents of the concerned students.
He said the problem came about when the university advertised the opening of a course but failed to indicate that it was meant for NRC campus, which has a higher fee structure.
“As an institution, we give offer letters to students when selected to the university with terms and conditions written.
It is up to them to accept or reject the offer because fees will always differ, depending on the programme one wants to study,” Kaonda said.
He said the government helps only few needy students.
“We are working on how best we can avoid repeating the mistake as we currently work on another selection,” he said.
Ministry of Education spokesperson, Lindiwe Chide said it is unfortunate that students from the two campuses are in this situation.
“Powers to decide on fees are with the university’s council.
Any complaints guardians and students have must be directed directly to the university council where they shall be helped accordingly,” Chide said. Civil Society Education
Coalition (CSEC) Executive Director, Benedicto Kondowe said it is absurd that such a scenario is emerging after the NRC was merged with Bunda College to become Luanar.
He said the merging of the two signified that they would have the same fees for both students and that most of the academic requirements would be similar.
“The College’s management should resolve the situation as soon as possible as failure to do so can result in other students protesting. This hinders quality education delivery,” Kondowe said.
Bunda College and NRC were merged in 2015.
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