From the president of Malawi—Arthur Peter Mutharika (APM)—to the minister of education—Emmanuel Fabiano—and his entire Ministry of Education; and from the Chancellor of the University of Malawi—APM—to the Council of the University of Malawi…you people are all nothing but a selfish lot!Is it not the same APM-led government that tells civil servants to forget salary increment because the economy is in bad shape? Good people, is it not the same Council of the University of Malawi which, not long ago, pleaded with our dear lecturers not press ‘pause’ on salary increment because Unima’s accounts are unsound? Now they raise fees to students whose sponsors are the very same mothers and fathers who they brush shoulders with as they go about their daily business in this very same sick and dying economy.
Good people, nothing best describes these people here other than that these people are…wait for a moment…SELFISH. Yes, these people are selfish from head to toe; from the bones to the bone marrows; and from the heart to every tiny cell in their bodies. Selfish, selfish, selfish. Selfish is what they are!
Good people, you have been witness to a litany of sad stories of your nieces and nephews dropping out of college simply because they have been unable to pay K275 thousand kwacha fees. It is sheer insensitive for this selfish to sit down, have snacks served, get allowances, and resolve to raise fees for such students from K275 thousand kwacha to K400 thousand kwacha. C’com good people! Or is this another way of telling these students that their stay on campus is unwelcome. Wasn’t it APM himself who ordered the public universities to register needy students after the students’ appeals for assistance reached record levels?
Good people, come to think of our dear sister, Mercy. She has a Diploma in Education and teaches at that Community Day Secondary School. She stays with her two siblings and she is the sole breadwinner in her family. With a diploma, it means she is on Grade J according to salary scales in government which means she earns less than one hundred thousand kwacha in a moth after tax. And that’s where she ends with her education. This is the case because, should she desire to upgrade her education, Unima says fees for upgrading students are no longer K275 thousand kwacha but a filthy K900 thousand kwacha. And that is for fees alone. What about rent, upkeep, and all the nitty-gritties that goes with life?
Good people, government has raised salaries for civil servants by an average of 15% and yet Unima raises its fees by an average of over 500%. No logic at all. In fact, this reasoning is pathetic. Good people, how does Unima expect someone whose salary has been increased by 15% to be able to pay fees matching an increase of 500%. We should be afraid, good people, if this is how our children are taught. In good conscience, how do those behind the fee-increment decision expect someone to spend more than they earn? With this kind of thinking, corruption will surely never see the exit door in Malawi. And we sure will be doomed as a nation. For real!
And UnimaCouncil argues that “…globally, mature entry students pay economic fees and not subsidized fees….” It is true that globally mature entry pay economic fees, but the truth is that such countries have stable and vibrant economies, loan schemes, and the job opportunities are just everywhere. Its’ just utter…spoiler alert, stupidity to compare such countries with Malawi where the economy is hopelessly diseased, the loan schemes elusive, and job opportunities scarce.
As if the folly above is not enough, Unima Council further lamely argues that students in private colleges pay economic fees in the ranges of the raised fees. That is true. But remember, they are private colleges. They do not get government subvention as Unima does. The simple logic here is that they are justified to charge so much because that is the only money they get. For public universities, the story is different: government gives money which is used to supplement some of the expenditures.
There was time good people that college life got intimately associated with goodies—good food, entertainment, and interactive lecturers—and secondary students were motivated to work hard to taste such a life. But now this is history; students in colleges now survive on popcorn at lunch and poorly-cooked food at K300 served by, in case of Chancellor College, what are commonly called “Delicious Women” from the populous Chikanda ghetto. It remains to be seen if secondary school students will be any more motivated to work hard if they hear these kinds of stories about life in college. Gone are the days college-life stories became interesting. Today, unless you add a lie here and there, it is nasty.
The fees-increment may be, and of course is a good idea, but it is ill-timed and more so, unthinkably prohibitive for an average Malawian. But who is Malita to tell APM, MoEST, and Unima Council what to do? After all, they manage the colleges and are free to develop policies that will see only their nieces and nephews in the corridors. But the irony is, these people attended these same colleges when the fees were as good as free!
A nation ticks when its policies favour the disadvantaged and stinks when the opposite is the case. Malawi nation’s policies, especially on education, and more so with the Unima fee increment, reflects the latter, oh baaad! God, God, only you God can save us. If not now, ohh God we beg, just give us the insight and solidarity to kick this government out in 2019. Mmhh it’s too much. This government is unbearably selfish. Selfish this, selfish that. Selfish.Selfish.Selfish.Selfiiish.