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Monday, June 21, 2021

Malawi: rising number of needy students overwhelm government

Yamikani Sabola

Ministry of Education, Science and Technology (MoEST) has expressed concern over rising number of students failing to access or struggling with tertiary education due to financial problems.

Director of Higher Education in the ministry, Samson Machese Mbewe, raised the concern on Saturday when he presided over the launch of Parents Association for University of Malawi Students (PAUS) in Lilongwe.

He said government has been increasing annual budgetary allocations to Students Loans Board (SLB), which provides loans to needy college students but said such funds are not enough due to growing demand for tertiary education.

Mbewe said: “More students are graduating from secondary schools than was the case in the past.

This has created huge demand for tertiary education which has also increased the number of needy students requiring loans and scholarships.”

He said government is encouraging other players to complement its efforts in supporting needy students.

Mbewe, however, bemoaned an alleged tendency by some college students from well to do families who are also accessing the loans at the expense of deserving needy students.

“Such students are adding undue pressure on the loan facility and are even crowding out real needy students.

“Some of them secure the loans or scholarships and continue collecting money from their unsuspecting parents on the pretext of fees only to spend it on luxuries,” he said.

According to Mbewe, the country has about 26 000 students in public colleges and a recent survey by the World Bank found out that only 20 percent of them are needy.

Chairperson for PAUS, Paul Chikwekwe, said the association is having a long list of college students who are on the verge of dropping out due to lack of finances and urged people of goodwill to give their support.

He said they have introduced an initiative called “Adopt a Student” which is aimed at linking up needy college students to well-wishers who can bankroll their education.

Chikwekwe said they have secured about K17 million from a well-wisher to go towards scholarships for eight needy students drawn from various public colleges.

Read original story here.


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