Graduation procession-MZUNI; one of the four Public Universities Graduation procession-MZUNI; one of the four Public Universities

NCHE deals away with multiple selection of students into Public Universities

Over the past years, when it came to selection of students into public Universities in Malawi, one of the major issues most people complained about was the multiple selection of some students.
However, since the National Council for Higher Education (NCHE) started harmonizing selection of students into public Universities in 2014, it has successfully done away with this problem.
The four Public Universities in question include University of Malawi which has the Chancellor College, the Polytechnic, Kamuzu College of Nursing and the College of Medicine; The Lilongwe University of Agriculture and Natural Resources (LUANAR), Mzuzu University (MZUNI) as well as the Malawi University of Science and Technology (MUST).
According to Acting Chief Executive Officer for NCHE Mrs. Martha Mondiwa during the 2016/2017 Public Universities selection, out of the 14, 807 students who applied into the public Universities, 14, 361 met the minimum requirements and a total of 4,640 were actually selected representing 32 percent selection rate.
“Although the total number of those selected is still low compared to those eligible for selection due to limited spaces in our public Universities, we are pleased that now we no longer face multiple selection of students into the Universities as was the case before we came in to coordinate the selection process,” said Mondiwa.
Multiple selection of students happened when each public University was conducting its own selection such that one student could in some cases be selected into three Universities at the same time thereby disadvantaging other eligible students.
Mrs. Mondiwa also noted that since NCHE started harmonising the selection process, there is now an improvement in the collaboration and coordination between the various public Universities.
She said as NCHE they will continue to lobby with government to undertake deliberate efforts which will result in the public Universities accommodating as many deserving students as possible.
Chief Education Officer for Higher Education in the Ministry of Education, Science and Technology Mr. Valentino Zimpita, also noted with concern the low numbers of eligible students who actually get selected into public Universities.
“As government we are equally concerned with the low numbers of students who make it into the public Universities. We are however hopeful that little by little as time goes we will have all public Universities accommodating as many students as possible,” he said.
According to the Policy, Research and Planning Specialist at NCHE Mr. John Sadalaki, another notable achievement NCHE has registered since it started coordinating the selection process is the organisation of selection clinics across three regions of the country.
“We have conducted selection clinics which has assisted in enlightening the prospective students and their guardians on how to decide on University programme choices for instance, thereby reducing the number of redirected candidates,” said Mr. Sadalaki.
Having noted the success of the clinics, NCHE has plans to hold such exercises in all districts.
By harmonizing the selection process, NCHE has also managed to ensure the process is timely as opposed to when it was done by individual Universities.
All districts of the country are now covered by the selection and special needs students are now being given a chance to get into the Universities as well.
“Chancellor College of the University of Malawi is taking in most of the special needs students because it has the facilities and equipment for such students. But through coordination of the selection process, we are encouraging the other public Colleges to take in special needs students as well,” Sadalaki said.
 NCHE is also planning to produce an online application form to reduce costs and improve efficiency.
Once launched, prospective students will be able to use either the online or the printed forms for application into the public Universities.

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