BLANTYRE-(MaraviPost)–On the heels of a string of controversial responses from the government authorities regarding the closure of public universities in the country, the disgruntled students together with Youth and Society (YAS) have demanded an immediate resignation of the minister of education Emmanuel Fabiano.
On August 21, 2016, PSU and Mzuni student unions wrote the Minister of Education to engage on the current academic stalemate at Mzuzu University and Polytechnic and appreciate government’s efforts in dealing with the ‘crisis’.
However, in response, the Minister of Education through the Ministry has rebuffed the proposed dialogue and referred the two unions back to the University councils.
In a letter dated 22nd November, 2016, made available to Maravi Post, the ministry referred back the students to the councils of their respective universities.
“Please be advised that the University of Malawi Act and Mzuzu University Act provide for students representatives on the councils where students engage with University authorities on a variety of issues including the one which is a subject of your request for the appointment with the minister.
“You are therefore advised that you engage with your respective university councils accordingly,” reads the letter.
But the response has not gone well with the university students who were banking hope in the minister.
The students have since expressed shock at the ministry response thereby demanding an immediate resignation of the minister, saying he is incompetent and unfit to be at the helm of education which is a key to social and economic development of the country.
In a statement dated 24 November, 2016, PSU, MUSREC in collaboration with Youth and Society, the students questions the integrity of the ministry for referring the unions back to the university councils where dialogue already failed.
“We wish to express our deepest shock and reservations over the Ministry’s response as it smacks of Government’s lack of commitment to contact and dialogue as a fundamental principle in resolving the current impasse. We find the response needlessly reckless and careless indicative of utter collapse of Government leadership in dealing with the current crisis.
“Referring back the unions to the University Councils where dialogue already failed, and closing the student unions out of dialogue, is not only unfair, but also the Ministry’s utter failure to execute its responsibility as policy holder in discharge of its obligations. We are disturbed by Government’s growing political arrogance and lack of commitment to peaceful settlement of disputes through mechanisms by which differences are settled through negotiation, dialogue and mediation,” reads the statement in part signed by MUSREC president Wazamazama Katatu, PSU president Frank Mchupuka Msiska and YAS executive director Charles Kajoloweka.
It added: “Further, having critically considered the Minister’s position and level of leadership in dealing with this academic impasse, we wish to consciously and loudly declare a vote of no confidence in the Minister of Education, Hon. Emmanuel Fabiano (MP). We hence call for his immediate resignation. We do not believe we can contain this leadership recklessness, arrogance and incompetence at this stage.”
On Monday, the legislators, while commenting on the academic crisis said the Ministry of Education is going from bad to worse and there is a lack of good will on the part of the minister responsible who has ignored his responsibilities and doesn’t move a finger to resolve the academic crisis which has led to closure of different public universities.
The MPs said Fabiano – former vice chancellor at Chancellor College of the University of Malawi – has totally failed to address challenges facing his ministry.