Unima graduates during graduation ceremony

BLANTYRE-(MaraviPost)—University of Malawi has, finally, been split into three stand alone universities namely University of Malawi (UNIMA), Malawi University of Business and Applied Sciences (MUBAS), and Kamuzu University of Health Sciences (KUHeS).

MUBAS is the new name for Polytechnic while KUHeS is a combination of Kamuzu College of Nursing (KCN) and College of Medicine (COM). Chancellor College (Chanco) is the only institution that has maintained the name University of Malawi (Unima).

According to a statement released on Monday, which is in our possession, the Ministry of Education has gazetted 4th May 2021, to be the commencement date for Acts of Parliament Nos 18, 19 and 20 of 2019, that established the three universities through Government Notice Nos 27, 28, and 29 of 2021 published in the Malawi Gazette Supplement, dated 26th April, 2021.

The statement indicates that the new development follows the position of the Malawi Government to proceed with delinking of the Unima colleges into stand-alone universities, communicated at a meeting held in Lilongwe on 18th February 2021, chaired by the Vice President, Saulos Klaus Chilima.

“To ensure smooth transition, the Ministry of Education has established a Transition Unit (TU) to oversee and conclude all transitional activities and issues that may arise during the de-linking process by 31st December 2021. The TU is composed of a Steering Committee comprising the following members: Professor Emmanuel Kaunda (Chairperson), Associate Professor Asyatu Lorraine Chiweza, Dr. Phillip Kaonda, Dr. Tasokwa Kakota-Chibowa, Dr. MacPhail Magwira, as well as the Director of Higher Education; and a Secretariat composed of a lean staff from UNIMA central office headed by the current University of Malawi Registrar, Dr. B.W. Malunga as a TU Coordinator.

“The Transition Unit started its work on 15th April 2021 and has since met with Management teams from all the four UNIMA colleges; and will from 27th April until 4th May 2021 be conducting press briefings and meetings with stakeholders including the current UNIMA Council, staff unions/welfare committees leadership, as well as student unions leadership from all the UNIMA colleges; the Parents Association of UNIMA students (virtual meeting), the National Council for Higher Education, and the Higher Education Students Loans and Grants Board. From 4th May to 31st December 2021, the Transition Unit will be working with the Ministry of Education and Councils of the three universities to ensure that all requirements for an optimal transition take place as outlined in the 2018 Report by the Taskforce on Delinking of UNIMA Constituent Colleges,” reads the statement in part.

It further says that selection of students into public universities will from this year include the new universities thereby advising applicants to check and familiarize themselves with the new codes for courses under the Polytechnic (now MUBAS), College of Medicine and Kamuzu College of Nursing (now KUHeS) that the universities will soon produce during the forthcoming universities selection process harmonised by the National Council for Higher Education (NCHE).

The idea to delink the Unima colleges was hatched by the former ruling Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) in 2017 but in January this year the University Council cancelled the decision arguing the two structures; the Senate and the Council, did not have powers to handle the matter.

However, in a surprise turn of events government announced in February that it would proceed with the decision to delink the University of Malawi (Unima) and Chilima was chosen to lead the whole process.

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