The Church of Central African Presbyterian (CCAP) Livingstonia Synod has accused the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) government of not listening to the church on the proposed review of tuition fees students pay in the Synod’s colleges.
Moderator-elect for the Synod, the Reverend John Gondwe, said government is deliberately ignoring their proposal that students at the Synod’s colleges should access government bursaries.
Gondwe was speaking at Loudon Teacher’s Training College (TTC) at Embangweni on Thursday when Press Trust handed over a 20-bed capacity hostel to the Synod.
He said their proposal that asks government to subsidise the current fees in Christian colleges, would help to improve the education standards in the country, arguing that the institutions would afford proper learning materials when the State makes available some funds towards learners’ fees.
“As Synod of Livingstonia, we feel bad with the government because they fail to come out on our proposal. We introduced Loudon Teacher’s Training College (TTC) and University of Livingstonia to compliment government’s efforts to improve education in the country.
“However, we are surprised that government, as our partner, deliberately ignores our proposal on introducing bursaries in our colleges. Here at Loudon TTC, students pay K100, 000 plus in fees while fellow students at public TTCs are paying K45,000 per semester, despite that all will be teaching at the same schools and getting the same salaries. At University of Livingstonia, they pay K455, 000 per semester. How many poor people can manage to pay that?” argued Gondwe.
He said the Synod tried to engage government in several ways but no positive response was made on the proposal.
Gondwe also said colleges that are under the supervision of different denominations lack government support which the State renders to public institutions.
However, Minister of Information Jappie Mhango said the Synod’s proposal is not applicable as government is already providing support in some areas in the colleges.
He said government cannot take up every proposal without scrutinizing it and finding how it would affect the country’s economy.
“I thought they established the colleges themselves? They must be crazy…Why today do they want such type of government involvement?… By the way, let me consult my colleague from the responsible ministry, maybe for some consideration,” said Mhango.
However, Gondwe said if government still ignores the Synod’s proposal, they will engage members of Parliament (MPs) to move a motion in the House to introduce bursaries in such colleges.
“We know that government might still ignore our proposal. However, we shall engage MPs so that they table the issue in the National Assembly. However, our challenge is that many MPs respect their party leaders and not our needs. They might also ignore us, but still more we will fight to the end,” challenged Gondwe.
Recently, Livingstonia Synod Education Secretary Reverend Timothy Nyasulu, also accused DPP government of contributing to the dwindling education standards in the country by failing to fund five special needs schools under Grant-Aided School Funding.
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