GOVERNMENT HAILS NCHE FOR ORGANISING FIRST NATIONAL CONFERENCE ON QUALITY ASSURANCE IN HIGHER EDUCATION INSTITUTIONS

In recent years Malawi has seen an increase in the number of students graduating from secondary schools and ready to attain higher education which has in turn resulted into the mushrooming of private institutions of higher learning.

The number of privately owned institutions of higher learning has increased with those registered with the National Council for Higher Education now over 20, as the public Universities and Colleges have been unable to absorb all the numbers of potential students due mostly to lack of space in lecture rooms as well as hostels.

This rise in the number of institutions of higher learning in the country has raised a very important question of quality in terms of education being offered in these Universities and Colleges as well as infrastructure among others. Frankly, as observed by many in the education sector as well as from the general public, the quality of education being offered by most of these institutions has left a lot to be desired. 

This is why the government of Malawi through the Ministry of Education, Science and Technology established the National Council for Higher Education (NCHE) through Act of Parliament No. 15 of 2011 to be a regulator of higher education in Malawi.

The vision of the NCHE is to champion quality higher education in Malawi and its mission is to promote and coordinate relevant, accessible, equitable and sustainable quality higher education in Malawi.

In fulfilling its mission of ensuring Malawians are accessing quality higher education, NCHE organized the first ever national conference on quality assurance in institutions of higher learning from August 7 to August 10, 2017 at Sunbird Nkopola Lodge in Mangochi. The Council also organized the conference noting that quality higher education is a prerequisite for the attainment of sustainable development goals even as noted by the United Nations.

The theme of the conference, ‘Improving Higher Education Standards through Quality Assurance Management Systems’ was timely, as it tried to reinforce capacity of key stakeholders in quality assurance in higher education to ensure compliance in operating above minimum standards put in place by NCHE and approved by the Minister of Education Science and Technology.

The conference drew participants from higher education institutions both public and private, professional bodies, as well as NCHE.

International experts in quality assurance in higher education from countries like Kenya, South Africa and Zambia as well as local experts facilitated the conference.

Speaking at the conference, Chairperson of NCHE Dr. Stanley Khaila said NCHE is doing everything possible to ensure quality assurance in institutions of higher learning both public and private.

“The National Council for Higher Education is doing everything possible to make sure that the quality of higher education in Malawi is improving despite numerous challenges.

“Since the Council started operating in 2014 a great deal of good work has been done in a bid to improve quality in higher education amidst resistance in some quarters,” Dr. Khaila said.

The NCHE Chairperson noted that the resistance is hopefully going to end because many Malawians are now realizing the need for a regulatory body in the higher education sector.

To us at the Council this resistance is normal and we hope sooner or later we shall all be able to understand why Malawi needs a regulator for higher education more especially now that we are advocating for increased access to higher education which results into mushrooming of higher education institutions,” he said.

Dr. Khaila added that it is imperative to deliberately put in place measures so that the higher education institutions should not compromise quality. And as such one way of ensuring quality in higher education is having a vibrant regulator which monitors, coordinates and champions quality in both public and private higher education institutions.

In her opening address, NCHE acting Chief Executive Officer Mrs. Martha Mondiwa, noted that the quality assurance conference was long overdue.

“Managers of quality assurance processes in higher education institutions were in need of training in quality assurance. During assessments for registration of programmes and accreditation, it was further observed that many private higher education managers lacked a good understanding of the higher education sector let alone of quality assurance processes hence the conference is a step towards changing such a trend,” she said.

Guest of honour at the conference, Minister of Education, Science and Technology Honourable Bright Msaka noted the unparalleled impact that education has on the existence and development of any nation.

According to Honourable Msaka, the success of Malawi as a nation depends upon people who have undergone quality education especially in higher education.

“If any nation aspires for quality infrastructure, quality administration, quality justice systems, quality public services, a sound economy, and a wholesome environment, such a nation must invest in the quality of those that ensure the existence of that quality. And those are the citizens of that nation.

“If you compromise the quality of the performers, you will surely compromise the resultant performance,” he said.

According to the Minister the conference was exceedingly important as we aspire for a Malawi resting on the shoulders of quality and successful citizens.

“I do not consider quality higher education as an end in itself. I consider quality higher education as a means to achieving a successful and globally competitive Malawi. I consider quality higher education as a vehicle by which this nation will be transported towards the attainment of our national aspirations,” said the Minister.

The Minister commended NCHE for starting the journey of quality higher education, which is the journey to national competitiveness. 

“In starting this journey, you are directly addressing the national anxiety that advised your creation. As was the case prior to 2011, the year of your creation, to this day, Malawi is anxious about the apparent dwindling in the quality of education at all levels, including in our public and private universities.

“As was the case prior to 2011, to this day, Malawi wishes to re-assert its international competitiveness. These are mandates of your existence,” he said.

The Minister commended the World Bank for conducting studies that have confirmed Malawi’s anxieties on education noting the Bank’s belief in the potential of this country is evidenced by the generous support for the holding of the conference.

He said Government is deeply grateful for the Bank’s support and hopes that the Bank will walk with Malawi on the road of quality education; on the road of national competitiveness; and on the road of national success.

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Press Release

The National Council for Higher Education Act (No. 15 of 2011) gives mandate to the Council to regulate, promote and coordinate higher education in Malawi. During its 17th meeting held on 3rd and 4th July 2017 the Council received improvement plans, an assessment report for the registration of a new higher education institution and accreditation reports for various higher education institutions.  The Council made the following resolutions:

A.   Improvement plans

The Council approved improvement plans from the following higher education institutions whose accreditation results were released in October 2016 and March 2017.

 S/N

Name

Accreditation Status

1.

Nkhoma University

Accredited with conditions, October 2016

2.

Malawi University of Science and Technology

Accredited with conditions, October 2016

3.

College of Medicine (University of Malaŵi)

Accredited with conditions, October 2016

4.

University of Livingstonia

Accredited with conditions, March 2017

5.

Daeyang University

Accredited with conditions, March 2017

6.

Montfort Special Needs Education College

Not accredited, March 2017

 

The higher education institutions named above will now proceed to the implementation phase of their improvement plans and the Council will be following up closely to ensure progress towards improvement in the agreed areas. Montfort Special Needs Education College shall be re-assessed at the end of its implementation period, while the other five institutions shall be visited from time to time and progress reports from the visits shall inform future assessments for re-accreditation.

B.   Registration of University of Lilongwe

The Council registered University of Lilongwe as a higher education institution in Malawi. The University shall be assessed for accreditation after operating for a minimum of two years.

C.   Outcome on accreditation of private higher education institutions

Further to previous announcements on accreditation of higher education institutions in the country, the Council has accredited, with conditions, the following private higher education institutions and the programmes listed against each institution:

 S/N

Name

Accreditation Status

1.

Malawi Adventist University (MAU)

  1. Bachelor of Arts in Theology/Religion
  2. Bachelor of Science in Agriculture
  3. Bachelor of Science in Agri-business
  4. Bachelor of Business Administration (Management, Marketing and Finance)
  5. Bachelor of Education (English Language and Literature)

2.

Malawi Assemblies of God University (MAGU)

  1. Bachelor of Arts in Biblical Counselling
  2. Bachelor of Arts in Biblical Studies
  3. Bachelor of Arts in Church Education Ministries
  4. Bachelor of Arts in Intercultural Studies
  5. Bachelor of Education English
  6. Bachelor of Education History
  7. Bachelor of Education ICT
  8. Bachelor of Education Mathematics
  9. Bachelor of Education Social Studies
  10. Bachelor of Commerce in Accounting
  11. Bachelor of Commerce in Banking and Finance
  12. Bachelor of Commerce in Business Administration
  13. Bachelor of Commerce in Human Resources Management
  14. Bachelor of Commerce in Business Information Systems
  15. Bachelor of Commerce in Insurance
  16. Bachelor of Commerce in Marketing
  17. Diploma in Early Childhood Development
  18. University Certificate of Education
  19. Master of Arts in Christian Leadership
  20. Master of Arts in Community Psychology
  21. Master of Arts in Intercultural Studies

3.

Management College of Southern Africa (MANCOSA)
(Open and distance learning only)

  1. Advanced Certificate  in Management Studies
  2. Advanced Certificate in Financial Planning
  3. Higher Certificate in Accounting
  4. Higher Certificate in Public Management
  5. Higher Certificate in Information Technology
  6. Higher Certificate in Supply Chain Management
  7. Higher Certificate in Business Management
  8. Higher Certificate in Local Government and Development Management
  9. Higher Certificate in Labour Studies
  10. Higher Certificate in Marketing
  11. Higher Certificate in Project Management
  12. Higher Certificate in Human Resource Management
  13. Bachelor of Public Administration
  14. Bachelor of Business Administration
  15. Bachelor of Commerce in Marketing Management
  16. Bachelor of Commerce in Information and Technology Management
  17. Bachelor of Commerce in Supply Chain Management
  18. Bachelor of Commerce in Financial Management
  19. Bachelor of Commerce in Human Resource Management (Honours)
  20. Bachelor of Commerce in Marketing Management (Honours)
  21. Bachelor of Public Administration (Honours)
  22. Postgraduate Diploma in Project Management
  23. Postgraduate Diploma in Educational Management
  24. Postgraduate Diploma in Business Management
  25. Master of Business Administration (MBA)
  26. Master of Public Administration (MPA)

4.

Pentecostal Life University (PLU)

 

  1. Bachelor of Arts in  Procurement and Supply Chain
  2. Bachelor of  Business Management
  3. Bachelor of Science  in Community Development

The public is informed that the designation ‘accredited with conditions’ does not signify preconditions for attaining accreditation, rather that the institutions concerned are expected to implement certain recommended improvements for the purpose of continuous improvement.


D.   Institutions not accredited by the Council

The Council did not accredit the following higher education institutions:

  1. Columbia Commonwealth University
  2. Riverton University,
  3. Share World Open University, and
  4. Eastern and Southern Africa Management Institute (ESAMI)

With the exception of Columbia Commonwealth University, the institutions named above are required to develop improvement plans responding to the recommendations made by the Council. Thereafter, each institution shall be advised on necessary steps before re-assessment.
The public is further informed that a complete list of ‘accredited’ and ‘unaccredited’ higher education institutions is available at the National Council for Higher Education offices and on its website. Higher education institutions are urged to avoid misrepresentation of their accreditation status, which the students and the public should be aware of.

For more information and further clarification please contact:
The Chief Executive Officer
National Council for Higher Education
Private Bag B 371
Lilongwe 3

Telephone: 01 755 884

Email:
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