BLANTYRE-(MaraviPost)—For several years, Chancellor College (now University of Malawi) has been the only institution mandated to offer law proramme in Malawi. Since its inception, the Faculty of Law at Chancellor College has produced many outstanding figures in the legal profession.
Following the liberalization of higher education, some private institutions such as Blantyre International University (BIU), Catholic University of Malawi (CUNIMA) and Share World University attempted to offer the ‘sacred’ programme but their attempts to have their law programmes accredited have on several times hit a snag.
A bitter pill to swallow was prescribed for the three private institutions by Ombudsman Martha Chizuma in 2019 when she ordered all private universities to stop offering law degree programmes in the country.
Chizuma is quoted as saying “institutions providing law degree programmes are doing it illegally and should only resume after legal impediments are dealt with.”
She added: “This is not because the law prohibits the two universities from offering the law programme for study, but rather because the Malawi Council for Legal Education (MCLE), which is legally mandated to provide technical guidance through regulation of syllabus and curriculum before accreditation of the programme, has to date only done so for the law programme at the University of Malawi [Unima], Chancellor College.”
But the news flooding social media platforms is that Catholic University of Malawi has finally found the ‘Holy Grail’ as National Council of Higher Education has duly accredited its Bachelor of Laws programme, which they have been offering since 2013.
In a statement released today 6th October the University indicates that NCHE has resolved to accredit the programme after a rigorous assessment.
“Today, in a letter dated 5th October, 2021, we received the news we have been waiting for that at its 33rd meeting held on 30th September, 2021, the National Council for Higher Education resolved to accredit our Bachelor of Laws programme.
“Given the importance we ascribe to standards and independent assessment of our programmes and the long wait we have endured to have our Law programme accredited. We regard this development as a milestone in the history of our university and indeed the history of legal education in Malawi,” reads the statement in part.
Cunima therefore becomes a first beneficiary of the 2018 Legal Education and Legal Practitioners Bill that sought to repeal the Legal Education and Legal Practitioners Act and include new developments among them removing Chancellor College as the only institution that trains lawyers in the country.
Meanwhile, the news has delighted not only Cunima students but also all people who have been aspiring to practice law in the country as entry to University of Malawi is laborious and mindboggling.