Minister of Education Agnes NyaLonje has asked the private sector to work hand in hand with Government in improving the standards of university education in the country.
NyaLonje made the remarks today when she presided over the launch of the University Students ‘ Accommodation Project at College of Medicine (COM) – Lilongwe Campus which is being implemented through the Public Private Partnerships Commission (PPPC).
She says Government alone can not manage to provide adequate accommodation to the university students.
“I should mention at the outset that issues of accommodation in our public universities are very critical and that government alone cannot manage them. These issues require collaborative effort by both the public and the private sectors. It is, therefore, very pleasing that today we are launching this timely project,” NyaLonje says.
The Minister of Education says
it is a known fact that university students in Malawi face a lot of challenges due to lack of proper accommodation.
“Since the number of students enrolled in our universities increases each year, we need to continuously increase accommodation spaces available to reduce the number of students having to find their own accommodation outside university premises,”
“Such accommodation facilities outside universities come with their own challenges like poor security leading to theft and attacks by thugs, and inaccessibility of college facilities like libraries. With such scenarios, we cannot expect students to perform well and excel in their studies. This puts students with disabilities and female students at heightened risk,” NyaLonje says.
According to the Minister, President Dr. Lazarus Chakwera believes that every student regardless of their level of education should be provided with decent accommodation which guarantees safety, support, social interaction and excellent performance.
“We believe students should live in places where they can thrive and have the quality of student experience they deserve. We cannot talk about development without talking about education. There is no country that can boast about sustainable economic development without education. Similarly, we need to improve our education system if we are to achieve sustainable development,” she says.
NyaLonje says in this regard, the Tonse Government led by Dr. Lazarus McCarthy Chakwera is committed to improving the education standards in the country.
“One of avenue for achieving this is to provide enough hostels in our universities. However, as already observed, Government alone cannot achieve this because it is capital intensive. This is where Public, Private Partnerships come in. We need to move in partnership with the private sector for the education system to develop,”
“Today, I stand here with delight knowing that Government’s plans have begun to materialize as one private partner in the provision of students’ accommodation; specifically, Old Mutual is now on site here at College of Medicine; Lilongwe Campus.
This is a very good development that gives joy, not only to the government but Malawi as a Nation. Such development gives hope even to students that are still in primary school that they will be able to access quality university education someday,” she says.
NyaLonje has also hailed Old Mutual for bankrolling the project.
“Thank you very much Old Mutual. We are proud of you. You have set an example to other investors that shy away from PPPs. We believe that you will do an excellent job. As government, we are ready to render our full support to you and please feel free to approach us anytime you feel like doing so. It is very important that we move together so that we deliver beautiful, affordable and durable accommodation facilities,” the Minister says.
The Minister has also called upon other investors to emulate the good example set by Old Mutual by partnering Government in other public universities.
“Please come forth and grab opportunities that are available and are waiting for you in Malawi. Government has lined up different projects to be undertaken under the PPP Framework,”
“May I also take this opportunity to thank the PPP Commission for their continued efforts in making sure that PPPs are successful in Malawi. It is because of your hard work that the students’ accommodation project is being launched today,” NyaLonje says.