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Malawi’s economic meltdown: New Unima students fail to pay tuition

ZOMBA-The Maravi Post has learnt that almost 5, 000 students who are selected to pursue studies at the University of Malawi (Unima) each year fails to source funds for tuition fees and other upkeep needs.

UNIMA Vice Chancellor Prof John Kalenga Saka made the disclosure Wednesday in Zomba at a memorandum signing ceremony between Unima and FDH Bank for scholarships awarded to 16 needy students.

Unima last year increased tuition fees for generic students from between K55, 000 and K275, 000 to K400, 000 per academic year.

Prof Saka said while some students secure funding from the higher education loans and grants board and other institutions, every year about 5,000 still do not have any means of raising fees.

“You will always have about 10 to 20 % of the community of students lacking tuition and therefore it means if we can mitigate that shortfall it will mean that more students will have scholarships and pursue their studies very well,” he said.

He called upon the beneficiary students to work extra hard to ensure the K72 million investment by FDH Bank does not go to down the drain.

Echoing his sentiments, Prof Richard Tambulasi, the Principal of Chancellor College, said there are concerns the college could this year withdraw 100 students due to failure to pay fees.

“As the University of Malawi, we use a no fees no registration policy but we had to be a bit lax this year after noticing that a lot of students are finding it hard to source funds,” he said.

Polytechnic Registrar Moses Mwenye said last academic year, about 76 students asked to have their places reserved because of lack of fees.

Mwenye appealed to more organizations to come to the help of such needy students.

“We’re facing huge challenges with students failing to secure funding for their studies. The most affected are male students; from the 76 that could not proceed with their studies last academic year, 64 were male and 12 female. I therefore would like to urge companies, individuals and other well wishers to come in and assist,” he said.

FDH Bank deputy managing director William Mpinganjira said they hope the scholarship programme will help to enhance academic excellence and quality education.

He hoped some of the students who received the scholarships will also get the chance of attachment and permanent employment at the bank.

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