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Unima proposes fees hike

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The University of Malawi (Unima) has sought government’s approval for the upward adjustment of tuition fees for normal entry students across its four constituent colleges.

In a meeting the Unima council held some few days ago, it was agreed that the fees should be hiked.

Should government nod to Unima’s proposal, parents to students who will be admitted into the colleges in the 2016/2017 academic year will have to dig a little deeper to meet the new rates.

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A source from inside Unima revealed that normal entry scholars at Chancellor College will be required to pay K320, 000, Polytechnic students will be required to pay K380, 000, Kamuzu College of Nursing K340, 000 while College of Medicine scholars will be expected to pay K500, 000 per academic year.

The University of Malawi Students Union (Umsu) General Secretary, Dalitso Dulani said that the University Council was dodgy on the matter when it was quizzed to give detailed information.

“In the meeting, Unima did not give us the whole truth about the matter. We have not yet received any formal communication about the figures. They just told us that the issue was discussed and they are waiting for the government to respond, said Dulani

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University of Malawi spokesperson Peter Mitunda declined to comment on the issue. He instead referred us back to the people who tipped The Daily Times about the meeting and what transpired.

Meanwhile, Polytechnic Students Union (PSU) president, Frank Msiska said he was aware of the meeting and added that representatives from the University of Malawi Students Union (UMSU), who were present at the meeting, informed his union about what was discussed.

Commenting on the fees adjustment proposal by Unima, Msiska expressed worry saying the future looks darker for most students.

He wondered how the next crop of scholars will cope with the higher fees when hundreds of others who are currently in the system are struggling to pay the K275, 000 tuition fee.

Earlier this week, Unima disclosed that it has been facing funding hurdles in recent years, projecting that at the end of this financial year, outstanding obligations may reach K1.8 billion.

The University appealed to Members of Parliament to ask Minister of Finance Goodall Gondwe, to consider an upward adjustment of its budget.

But the Parliamentary Committee on Education through its Chairperson, Elias Chakwera, told officials from the University that the purpose of the meet was to understand the university’s budget and that the committee was not promising anything on the budget adjustment proposal.

Last month, Unima raised fees for mature entry students, a development that received a lot of opposition from various stakeholders including some education experts who argued that salaries and wages for most Malawians remain low.

The rates that will be chargeable to the 2016/2017 mature entry students at Chancellor College is K900,000, K1.4 million at College of Medicine, K1 million at Kamuzu College of Nursing and K950,000 at the Polytechnic.

Minister of Education, Science and Technology, Emmanuel Fabiano justified the raise, saying it is one way of making sure that universities have enough financial resources to run their programmes.

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