The Malawi Law Society (MLS) has expressed concern over the instability affecting the academic calendar in the country’s public universities, saying it is negatively affecting teaching and learning in the concerned institutions.

The society has since called on President Peter Mutharika and all relevant stakeholders to take steps that can bring about stability and certainty in the academic calendars of all public universities in the country.

“Specifically, the society wishes to urge all the relevant authorities to urgently and speedily resolve the disputes that are keeping the aforementioned public universities closed.

Some Unima students demonstrating against the fees hike

“The society undertakes to keep monitoring the situation affecting public universities and to take such action as shall be appropriate in the interests of the public,” said MLS in a statement released on Monday.

The MLS statement, co-signed by president John Suzi Banda and honorary secretary Khumbo Bonzoe Soko, describes higher education as central to Malawi’s socioeconomic development.

It further says government is obliged not only to increase access to higher education in the country, but also to continuously improve the quality.

It reads: “Limited access to quality higher education by Malawians would jeopardise the attainment of Malawi’s development goals and her citizens’ enjoyment of other freedoms and rights guaranteed by the Constitution.”

MLS’ statement comes against the background of Mzuzu University (Mzuni) closure last year following an unresolved industrial dispute.

The Polytechnic, a constituent college of the University of Malawi (Unima), was also closed due to disagreements pertaining to an increase in proposed student financial contribution.

At the moment, The Polytechnic remains closed with no sign of when it is going to open following a court ruling that the Unima Council should maintain the old fees structure of K55 000 and K250 000 for government and self-sponsored students, respectively. n

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