Stakeholders hail NCHE for successfully coordinating the Skills Development Project (SDP)

Stakeholders at the recent Skills Development Project (SDP) dissemination conference have hailed the National Council for Higher Education (NCHE) for successfully coordinating the project.

SDP was a five - year World Bank funded project which is ending this December implemented by five participating institutions of Polytechnic, Chancellor College, Lilongwe University of Agriculture and Natural Resources (LUANAR), Mzuzu University and the Technical Entrepreneurial Vocational Education and Training Authority (TEVETA).

The dissemination conference was held recently at the Polytechnic in Blantyre in the School of Engineering building constructed under the project.

The aim of the conference was to share with stakeholders in the higher education sector as well as the industry what the project has achieved since its inception past five years ago.

Speaking at the conference, Minister of Education, Science and Technology Dr. William Susuwele Banda who was the guest of honour, hailed NCHE for successfully coordinating the project which has seen tremendous outputs in uplifting standards of higher education in the country.

“Higher Education is an important investment in the future of an individual and the country, for individuals it opens doors to better paying jobs, provides opportunities and expands career choices.”

“Higher education graduates are the strongest contributors to the tax revenues that sustain the key programs and social services provided by the government,” said the Minister.

Speaking at the function, NCHE Chef Executive Officer Dr. Ignasio Malizani Jimu said as NCHE they were proud to have been coordinating the project.

 “6th December shall be remembered by all the participating institutions, and the National Council for Higher Education as the day we gathered together to showcase the achievements under the Skills Development Project,” stated Dr Jimu. “We are glad that the government entrusted to the Council the responsibility to coordinate the Project, which in our own judgement has been performed well” he said.

World Bank Education Practice Manager for Eastern and Southern Africa, Safaa El Tayeb El-Kogali, said it was essential that government and stakeholders in Malawi scale up investment in human capital to ensure that Malawians realise their full productivity potential and promote economic growth.

Among others, the project has seen construction and rehabilitation of teaching and learning infrastructure including laboratories, lecture theaters, classrooms, as well as the development of new curricula in the five participating institutions and staff development.

One of the beneficiaries of the project, Chancellor College fourth year student Cecilia Phiri saying now their learning will be facilitated with the state of the art equipment and facilities in the magnificent Brown Chimphamba Laboratories, constructed at the College among others.

The 50 million US Dollars project was aimed at increasing access, market relevance and results orientation of supported skills development institutions.

Stakeholders at the dissemination workshop included those from the higher education sector as well as from the industry.

NCHE to release Higher Education Quality Assurance Systems (HEQAS)

In pursuit of quality in higher education, the National Council for Higher Education (NCHE), has developed Higher Education Quality Assurance Systems (HEQAS), to be used across all higher education institutions in Malawi.

After holding two consultative workshops towards development of the same, the Council is hopeful that the HEQAS will be finalized by end of this year.

After the first workshop in September 2019 in Blantyre, the last one was held recently in Mangochi where participants included representatives from public and private higher education institutions, professional and regulatory bodies, Ministries of Education and Labour among others.

Speaking at the second consultative workshop in Mangochi, NCHE CEO Dr. Ignasio Jimu highlighted the need for quality in higher education institutions which is expected by students, employers and the world at large and hence the development of the (HEQAS.) in Malawi.

“What we are trying to do is cultivate a culture of quality in our higher learning institutions. Our vision as NCHE is ‘towards a culture of quality and excellence in higher education’ and the HEQAS will assist in verifying whether academic standards are good, are being achieved and maintained in line with predefined acceptable standards,” he explained.

Speaking on behalf of Ministry of Education, Chief Education Officer Mrs. Rose Kalizang’oma, expressed gratitude towards the development of the HEQAS.

“Quality assurance is a crucial and important aspect for higher education. When it comes to education standards, we have met quite the backlash but mostly because we did not have a guiding document to assist us improve. As a Ministry, we have been constantly asked as to when we would provide such a document and it is with great gratitude to see that it is finally done,” said Mrs. Kalizang’oma.

The Council involved international education experts Dr. Kaylash Algoo, Dr. Franz Gertze and Mr. Harry Kamdima to develop the HEQAS, which caters for both internal and external quality assurance systems in higher education.

In his presentation, Dr. Kaylash Algoo explained that the purpose of an Internal Quality Assurance (IQA) system, is to provide a common frame of reference that will assist and guide higher education institutions in Malawi when designing, establishing, evaluating, maintaining, renewing and reviewing their internal quality assurance policies and procedures.

“Aside from that, the document will be used by higher education institutions in Malawi to harmonize their internal quality assurance systems by aligning them to the proposed framework while at the same time provide for consistency in internal quality assurance systems across higher learning institutions in Malawi,” he explained.

On the other hand, Dr. Franz Gertze who presented on the external quality assurance section of the (HEQAS), explained that the core purpose of the External Quality Assurance (EQA) is to operationalize the NCHE Act No. 15 of 2011.

“The external quality assurance part of the HEQAS is also there to provide best practices in external quality assurance that will be used in higher education institutions in Malawi,” explained Dr. Gertze.

Until now, Malawi did not have well-documented Quality Assurance Systems for Higher Education Institutions making this a welcome development. The entire process of developing the HEQAS involved representatives from public and private Higher Education Institutions, professional and regulatory bodies and Ministries of Education and Labor who reviewed and gave recommendations for the HEQAS every step of the way.

NCHE awards accreditation certificates to 21 higher education institutions in Malawi

The National Council for Higher Education (NCHE) has awarded accreditation certificates to 21 higher education institutions in Malawi.

Of the 21, eight are public while 13 are private.

The private universities accredited include: Daeyang University; DMI-St. John the Baptist University; Pentecostal Life University; Lilongwe University; Management College of Southern Africa (MANCOSA); Millennium University; Malawi Assemblies of God University; Catholic University; Malawi Adventist University; Nkhoma University; African Bible College; Livingstonia University and Exploits University.

Public universities so far accredited include the Malawi University of Science and Technology (MUST); Mzuzu University (MZUNI); Lilongwe University of Agriculture and Natural Resources (LUANAR); the Polytechnic; Malawi Institute of Management; Malawi College of Accountancy; Kamuzu College of Nursing and the College of Medicine.

The accreditation awards ceremony, which took place in Mangochi, was officially graced by the Minister of Education, Science and Technology, Honourable Dr. William Susuwele Banda, MP.

Speaking when handing out the accreditation certificates, Dr. Susuwele Banda congratulated the awardees while also encouraging them not to relax but to keep up the standards.

“Accreditation is a continuous process and remember that an accreditation status has an expiry period, so there is need for all of you who have achieved accreditation to continue working towards keeping standards high,” he said.

The Minister also stressed on the need for all accredited higher education institutions and those which are yet to be, to cooperate with NCHE, the government agency mandated to accredit all higher education institutions.

“Government expects higher education institutions to continue cooperating with the NCHE. Such cooperation, coupled with continuous improvement will enhance the visibility and standing of higher education in Malawi,” said the Minister.

Speaking on behalf of accredited private colleges, Daeyang University Vice Chancellor Reverend Webster Siame, commended government for commissioning NCHE to regulate university standards.

KCN Principal Dr. Mercy Pindani spoke on behalf of all accredited public universities to say the accreditation gives them zeal to continue offering quality higher education.

Speaking at the awards presentation ceremony, NCHE Chairperson Dr. Bruce Munthali reiterated NCHE's commitment to ensuring that all higher education institutions are operating at a level commensurate with their aspirations for excellence.

“In line with Section 28 of the NCHE Act, Council expects higher education institutions to provide and maintain acceptable levels of physical, human, financial, teaching and learning resources if they are to gain accreditation and retain it over time,” Dr. Munthali explained.

CEO for NCHE, Dr. Ignasio Malizani Jimu encouraged all higher education institutions, public and private which are not accredited yet to work towards accreditation, following the minimum standards as set by the Council.

The National Council for Higher Education was established by Act of Parliament (No. 15 of 2011) to regulate the higher education sector in Malawi.

"We seek to elevate higher education standards to international levels" - Dr. Bruce Munthali, NCHE Chairperson

National Council for Higher Education (NCHE) Chairperson Dr. Bruce Munthali says his vision as the new NCHE Chairperson is to elevate higher education standards in Malawi to international levels.

"We will ensure that we work with various stakeholders within the sub-sector of higher learning to ensure that the standards are elevated to international levels so that our graduates are competitive both locally and internationally," Dr. Munthali said.

The Chairperson also explained that one of NCHE's mandate is to improve the efficiency and harmonized selection of students to public institutions of higher learning.

"This is another task we are mandated by government to undertake. We need to refine this area so that the number of students selected to higher learning institutions increases.

“Government has already taken a step toward this end by unbundling the University of Malawi (UNIMA) into separate colleges. As NCHE, we exist to complement government in enhancing quality education and we already have new universities being registered and accredited," he further explained.

In adding to the issue of access to higher learning, Dr. Munthali stipulated that investing in teaching, research, access to learning and teaching materials such as ICT and libraries and encouraging universities to have clearly defined learning outcomes for any program, are sure ways of elevating higher education standards to international levels.

NCHE was established by ACT of Parliament number 15 of 2011, to regulate the higher education sector

NCHE courts TNM and FDH bank on Public University Selection

In a bid to widen access to higher education, the National Council for Higher Education(NCHE) is exploring more ways through which students can pay application processing fees under the harmonised Public University Selection (PUS).

Since 2014, NCHE has been harmonizing selection of students into the four public Universities of Lilongwe University of Agriculture and Natural Resources (LUANAR); University of Malawi (which has Chancellor College; College of Medicine; Polytechnic and Kamuzu College of Nursing); Malawi University of Science and Technology (MUST) and Mzuzu University (MZUNI).

Currently, students applying for selection into the four public universities pay the 10 thousand Kwacha application processing fee only through National Bank of Malawi.

NCHE Policy, Research and Planning Manager, Mr. Richmond Chinula said that the idea to have more application processing fee payment modes is to ensure that they reach out to as many prospective students as possible.

Once all the arrangements are done, applicants can choose to pay the application fee through National Bank; NBS Bank; FDH Bank or through TNM Mpamba or Airtel Money.

“Students have been using National Bank only for the PUS payments, but we realise that National Bank is not available in some parts of the country hence we want to ensure we cover even those students in the remotest parts with a chance to apply even through TNM Mpamba, Airtel money and other banks like FDH and NBS,” he explained.

Mr. Chinula explained that this is why a team from NCHE recently met officials from NBS and FDH Banks as well as TNM and Airtel to discuss partnerships in expanding the payment base for the applicants. NCHE also met with Airtel on collaborating in the venture.

FDH’s Deputy Managing Director, Mr. William Mpinganjira expressed excitement at the potential partnership saying they are open to join hands with NCHE in opening up access to higher education even further.

“FDH is very willing to work with NCHE in this regard and we are ready to roll out the system as soon as NCHE is ready,” he said.

TNM Business Development Manager, Ms. Linda Mkandawire also expressed excitement at NCHE and TNM working together in integrating the PUS payment mode.

Once the systems are integrated, applicants using both the online application system and physical application forms will be able to choose from any one of the systems to process the application fee.

NCHE starts receiving applications for the Public University Selection usually in November of each year until January of the following year, after selection sensitization clinics which take place across the country.

Contacts

National Council for Higher Education
Private Bag B371
Lilongwe
MALAWI

Telephone: +265 1 755 884

Fax : +265 755 886

Email: info@nche.ac.mw

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