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Malawi Law Society presses for colleges’ opening

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The Malawi Law Society (MLS) has bemoaned disruptions to public universities’ academic calendar, observing that such developments mock the position of higher education as key to national development.

In a statement released yesterday, MLS president John Suzi Banda and Honorary Secretary Khumbo Bonzoe Soko observe that the development negatively affects teaching and learning activities in institutions of higher learning.

It cites the closure of Mzuzu University due to an unresolved industrial dispute as well as the case of The Polytechnic, a constituent college of the University of Malawi, which remains indefinitely closed due disagreements pertaining to an increase in proposed student financial contribution.

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“Higher education is central to this country’s development. The various critical skills that the nation’s populace must have in order for the country to move forward require a certain level of higher education. The Government is obliged to not only increase access to higher education in the country but also to continuously improve the quality of higher education in the country. Limited access to quality higher education by Malawians would jeopardise the attainment of Malawi’s development goals and its citizens’ enjoyment of other freedoms and rights guaranteed by the Constitution,” reads the statement.

MLS says this runs parallel to the Constitution, which provides for the right to education, and international human rights instruments Malawi ratified.

MLS has also raised concerns over the instability of the academic calendar.

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“The Society bemoans the instability that afflicts the academic calendar in Malawi’s public universities and calls upon the Head of State, as the Chancellor of all public universities in Malawi, and the relevant governing councils, to take such steps as would bring about stability and certainty in the academic calendars of all public universities in Malawi.

“Specifically, the Society wishes to urge all the relevant authorities to urgently and speedily resolve the disputes that are keeping the aforementioned public universities closed. The Society undertakes to keep monitoring the situation affecting public universities and to take such action as shall be appropriate in the interests of the public,” MLS says.

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