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Pros and Cons of Quota System in Malawi

Taking you three decades back, the autocratic Malawi Congress Party (MCP) regime sat down and hatched a divisive scheme that was aimed at isolating, marginalizing and suffocating Southern and Northern regions in terms of education opportunities in favor of Central region.

This evil strategy started immediately after the Mwanza murders and it came into effect towards the end of that decade.

That unpopular strategy saw the introduction of Quota System of selecting students to University as well as the forced transfers of teachers who hailed from the North, removing them from South and Center.

No proper reason was given for this unpopular move, a situation that made many people believe that MCP did this out of jealousy and paranoia, given that many people from the North were progressive academically.

Sadly it negatively affected the progress of education in the two regions as it got rid of qualified, experienced and dedicated teachers.

Fast forward to the Bingu Regime

After the introduction of Free Primary education in 1994 the country saw many children making it to secondary schools, eventually a higher demand for tertiary education was suddenly created.

The Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) government saw the need to expand the annual Public University intake.

This would mean expanding the capacity of these universities through expansion of physical infrastructures as well as establishing complete new universities.

In any practical world, these initiatives could not be implemented within a year or two.

However, the need was urgent but spaces in public Universities were limited.

This is when the government thought of re-introducing the Quota System but with some modifications to suit the prevailing circumstances and was called Equitable Access to Higher Education.

This was and still remains a temporary measure so that at least 10 students from each of the 28 districts in the country should have an opportunity of attaining University education.

Out of approximately 5000 students who are selected annually to public universities, only 280 are selected via EAHE (Quota),the rest are selected based on their points aggregates.

It is however relieving to note that the government has embarked on expanding the existing institutions in terms of infrastructure, curriculum and ODLs besides building new Universities.

So far during the DPP regime Malawian have seen the opening of Malawi University of Science and Technology (MUST) and the construction of Mombera University in Mzimba which is registering progress.

Soon the University of Bangula will take off and eventually we shall no longer need Quota.

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