Higher education in Malawi remains desirable for Malawian youngsters, and the biggest difficulty lies in its lack of funding. China helped Malawi build its first science university in 2012. It opened two years later and its first class will graduate in 2019. But the future of these graduates is less certain due to the country’s sluggish economy.
Malawi has more than 10 higher education institutions, of which four are publicly funded. All higher education in Malawi is ultimately controlled by the University of Malawi, which was founded in 1964. Students have to pass the Malawi Certificate of Education (MCE) to get access to higher education.
Chief among them, Malawi University of Science and Technology (MUST), under the sponsorship of China, is the first university with a focus on science and technology. It has about 3,000 students and a faculty of 300.
“MUST is quite unique because we are more into innovation, who’d like to have creative minds, and that’s what technology is, that's what sciences are all about. So for a long time and many years, Malawi had no such facility, so thanks to the People’s Republic of China for this facility. And as I speak now, it’s filling up with students with these high, sharp brains in science and technology,” said Henry Mussa, government chief whip of the Malawian Ministry of Industry and Tourism.
Malawi has more than 10 higher education institutions, of which four are publicly funded. /CGTN Photo
Some of the faculty and students from MUST go to China regularly, as it is partnering with China Agricultural University.
“The two universities have got a cooperation and we have a team that visited us from China a few months ago. In our cooperation we’re looking for staff development, so our staff can come to China for studies, but also we can staff from China come here to teach,” said Address Malata, vice-chancellor of MUST, “and we’re also looking for student exchange, so that students can go to China, and students from China can come to MUST.”
Malawi’s sluggish economy
The gross domestic Pproduct (GDP) in Malawi stood at 6.30 billion US dollars in 2017, which represents 0.01 percent of the world economy. GDP in Malawi averaged 2.20 billion US dollars from 1960 to 2017, reaching an all-time high of 8 billion US dollars in 2011 and a record low of 0.16 billion US dollars in 1960, according to Trading Economics.
Malawi is considered one of the world’s underdeveloped countries – 84 percent of Malawians live in rural areas, and agriculture accounts for over one-third of its GDP and 90 percent of its total exports, according to New Agriculturist.
However, Mussa said it was high time for Malawi to boost its development of science and technology.