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Peter Mutharika challenges Unima on funding

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By Audrey Kapalamula:

President Peter Mutharika has urged public universities to explore alternative means of funding and move away from depending on subventions.

He spoke Wednesday at Bingu International Convention Centre in Lilongwe during the graduation ceremony of 479 students who have been awarded University of Malawi (Unima) certificates in post and under-graduate programmes.

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Mutharika said improved education standards cannot be attained if universities continue to rely on subventions; hence, the need to change the culture of financing public universities.

“Today, universities operate in a competitive environment where excellence is a benchmark. We must make sure that higher education institutions provide adequate teaching and learning resources. They must hire and retain well-qualified lecturers who are committed. However, education quality is expensive and we cannot continue to depend on subventions for all our expenses,” he said

Mutharika, who is Unima Chancellor, urged the universities to be more transparent and accountable.

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He further said the government is making strides in improving access to university education for all and making it relevant to the needs of the country.

Unima Vice- Chancellor, John Kalenga Saka, said the university has streams of funding including students’ fees and consultancy services and what is needed is efficient use of these resources.

“What is important is that, that which we generate is used for the purpose that we have mobilised the resources [for]. So, there is need for efficient and accountable utilisation of these resources. Therefore, we have taken note of our commitment and Ministry of Education [Science and Technology] has launched a strategy for diversifying resources,” he said.

Some 388 students were awarded undergraduate certificates while 91 received post-graduate certificates.

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