Public, private universities scramble for lecturers


national-6There is a an ongoing scramble for academic staff between public and private institutions of higher learning, a development that has forced one of the local public universities to admit it is continuously receiving complaints from its students due to rising cases of cancelled classes.

Meanwhile, registrars of both the University of Malawi (Unima) and the Lilongwe University of Agriculture and Natural Resources (Luanar) have claimed that they are aware of cases of ‘moonlighting’ involving their academics.

Unima Registrar, Benedicto Malunga, said the Unima office has been receiving numerous concerns from students on cancelled classes as some lecturers are reportedly teaching in private universities.


Said Malunga: “People disappear when they are supposed to be attending to their lessons. In any sector, [such conduct is] unprofessional and irregular.

“This amounts to stealing time from another institution. While there is nothing wrong with their engaging in other jobs, it should not be during the time they are supposed to be working for Unima.”

He said lack of policing mechanisms was to blame for the situation.


As a way forward, Malunga said the university is currently developing a performance monitoring mechanism for its academic staff as is the case in similar institutions in the region.

He said the measures, which will be modelled on the one used in the private sector, will see students involved in assessing their lecturers.

“Professor Lewis Dzimbiri, who is an expert in performance management, is in the process of consulting the constituent colleges on the document that we are preparing and we expect to roll it out before the end of this year,” Malunga.

Meanwhile, Luanar said its council has already approved the performance management system.

Luanar Registrar, Phillip Kaonda, said they came up with the system to serve the public better.

“It’s a new development in Malawi where heads of departments will be signing agreements with their staff. Basically, we want to ensure that our staff focuses on the three critical areas namely teaching, research and consultancy,” he said.

Kaonda said lack of guidelines on the conduct of the three tasks was a disaster.

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