Quota system officially falls

Justin Saidi

The Ministry of Education, Science and Technology has disclosed that it has completed all the necessary processes in selecting students to public universities using the merit system, effectively phasing out the equitable access structure commonly known as quota system.

Principal Secretary in the ministry, Justin Saidi, said the first selection of students was done by May 6, but what remains is for the respective universities to approve the names which are expected to be out by the end of May.

He made the remarks during a press briefing that the ministry in conjunction with the National Council for Higher Education (NCHE) held in Blantyre Tuesday.


“We had to engage the National Council for Higher Education that is mandated to coordinate the selection of students to public universities. I am happy to say the selection has been done based on merit,” Saidi said.

He also explained that the council engaged the technical working group on the university selection which produced guidelines for the selection, later approved by the ministry and President Peter Mutharika on April 10 2020.

Meanwhile, the software used in the selection was validated and modified on April 16 and 17 this year.


NCHE Chief Executive Officer, Ignasio Jimu, said the merit system “will underscore the fact that we recognise merit” that those who have done well should “first and foremost” have the opportunity to join the universities.

Jimu, however, stressed that those who will miss out on the selection list through the merit system will still have a chance to study in the public universities through Open and Distance Learning and other means.

On February 27 this year, the government announced that it had stopped using the quota system following an outcry from some stakeholders.

In the merit system, students are selected based on their performance while in quota system, they were first being selected based on their districts of origin before some slots were filled based on merit.

The current merit system will be used to select students to the University of Malawi, Mzuzu University, Malawi University of Science and Technology as well as Lilongwe University of Agriculture and Natural Resources.

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