Public Universities hail National Council for Higher Education on successful 2018/19 public Universities selection clinics

Officials representing the country’s four public Universities (PUs) have hailed efforts by the National Council for Higher Education (NCHE) in the just ended 2018/19 selection sensitisation clinics conducted across the country.

For the second year running, NCHE has been conducting the clinics together with the four public Universities in the country to sensitise eligible candidates on how to complete the application form.

The four public Universities are Lilongwe University of Agriculture and Natural Resources (LUANAR); University of Malawi (UNIMA); Mzuzu University (MZUNI) and Malawi University of Science and Technology (MUST).

In an interview, MZUNI Assistant registrar Wezi Shaba, said the sensitization clinics have proved to be crucial and that this year’s participation by students has been very overwhelming showing the relevance of the clinics.

“The sensitization clinics are very helpful as they provide candidates with important information as they apply to go to the public Universities, all we need to do is ensure we impart as much knowledge as possible to the candidates” he said.

Dr. Sekanawo Kasiya representing LUANAR, concurred with Shaba saying the selection clinics are crucial as they enable the students make informed decisions on what programmes to apply for in relation to the grades they scored.

During the clinics, NCHE representatives explained the application process and how students can complete the form while representatives from each of the four universities elaborated on the programmes they offer as well as their requirements.

Candidates who completed their M.S.C.E, IGCSE or ‘O’ level equivalent; Advanced Subsidiary Certificate or a National Senior Certificate; Advanced Level, International Baccalaureate (IB) Diploma or ‘A’ Level equivalent in the past three years 2016, 2017 and 2018 are eligible to apply.

Candidates with an M.S.C.E must have at least six credit passes (a minimum of grade ‘6’).

Speaking during random interviews after the orientations, a quarter of potential students who attended the clinics expressed satisfaction on the guidelines as explained by NCHE and representatives from the universities, saying the process is much simpler now than before.

Despite some expressing skepticism on the available spaces in the universities as compared to the number of eligible candidates, the students also expressed joy at the fact that one has to apply to the four public universities using only one form.

The students also hoped that NCHE will from next year conduct the clinics at as many venues as possible to deal away with congestion which was evident at the 2018 venues.

NCHE has been conducting PUS clinics since last year in line with its role in harmonizing university selection.

To ease pressure and costs, NCHE has also created an online system so students can apply and submit online. The system was introduced last year and the Council hopes that many students will utilize this method.

Students now have a choice to apply either online or through hard copies.

The forms are available at District Commissioners and District Education Managers offices in all districts across Malawi.

The application forms can also be accessed on NCHE website as well as websites for all the four public universities.

The closing date for receipt of applications for the 2018/19 PUS is 31 January 2019.

NCHE has new Council

The National Council for Higher Education (NCHE) has a new set of Councilors who took over from the previous Council effective July 2018.

The new Council, which was gazetted in September 2018, is headed by Dr. Bruce Munthali, who takes over from Dr. Stanley Khaila.

Dr. Clemence Kadzera is the Vice Council Chairperson. Other members of the Council include Mrs. Temwani Simwaka; Mr. Dalton Mphepo; Reverend John Gondwe and Mr. Albert Jeremiah.

Ex Officio members of the NCHE Council include: The Secretary to the Treasury; The Comptroller of Statutory Corporations; the Secretary for education; the Secretary for Human Resource Management and Development; Vice Chancellor of Malawi University of Science and Technology; Vice Chancellor of University of Malawi and Vice Chancellor of Malawi Adventist University.

The Council together with senior management of NCHE, has already undergone the Corporate Governance Orientation Workshop for Boards of Directors and senior management of state corporations organized by the Department of Statutory Corporations together with the Malawi Institute of Management (MIM).

NCHE was established by Act of Parliament No. 15 of 2011, with the mandate to promote and coordinate education provided by higher education institutions in the country.

NCHE Quality Assurance team horne Skills in Ghana

Representatives of the National Council for Higher Education (NCHE), who recently travelled to Ghana to attend Quality Assurance Knowledge and Skills for the 21st Higher Education Personnel Workshop says the seminar is likely to unlock doors towards the improvement of quality higher education among members of the Association of African Universities (AAU).

Dr. Adamson Thengolose who is NCHE Quality Assurance Manager (Academic) at NCHE and was lead representative, said this after a 4 member Quality Assurance delegation returned from the conference in Tamale, Ghana.

Apart from Dr. Thengolose, the other three participants from NCHE included Professor Dixie Maluwa-Banda; Quality Assurance Specialist (Academic) Mr. Elias Selengo and Mrs. Susan Manyetera who is the Quality Assurance Specialist (Operations).

The 4 day conference was held under the theme “Revitalizing the 21st Century Higher Education Quality Assurance Personnel, Systems, Tools, Processes and Procedures.”

According to Dr. Thengolose, the agenda of the conference among others, was to enhance quality assurance knowledge and skills; how to improve quality of higher education; how to develop a quality culture and how to harmonize African Higher Education Quality Assurance and Accreditation.

The meeting also dwelled on the importance of continental information on higher and tertiary education.

“The conference noted that development players now concur that for any meaningful and sustainable economic growth to be realized and sustained, tertiary education must be centrally placed in the development agenda of nations.

“Countries around the world are striving to build the sector as part of their priority strategic development plans. This is why building a tertiary education system is no more a luxury but a national and continental imperative critical for Africa’s development and global competitiveness,” said Thengolose.

“In addition, worldwide research on teaching in higher Education has revealed that most of the institutional personnel do not have the knowledge and skills for quality assurance, a situation which has further been aggravated by poor to no orientation and induction of new personnel which can compromise quality,” he added.

Speaking on the sidelines of the lead representative, another NCHE member from Quality  Assurance and Accreditation department Elias Selengo, said some of the notable challenges the workshop tried to resolve include, less sensitization and awareness of what quality in higher education is all about and the current continental and regional activities related to quality assurance, resistance to quality assurance in higher education institutions as well as acceptance rate of quality assurance in general by higher education community, among others.

“Some of the objectives of the meeting were to share knowledge and information on the important endowments and characteristics of the robust higher education quality assurance; to equip participants with the background knowledge that informs good quality assurance in higher education; to  foster cooperation with other quality assurance officers of higher education within the continent; to disseminate quality assurance endeavors and benchmarks in African higher education through all the possible means of communication; and to encourage harmonization of African higher education through the African standards,” Selengo explained.

According to a report released by the National Council for higher Education, Malawi is the only one with less quality assurance officers compared to all member countries something that can alter thorough execution of quality education assessment.

Member countries in the Association of African Universities that attended the workshop include Ghana, Malawi, Togo, Gambia, Kenya, Cameroon, Zimbabwe and Nigeria.

NCHE’s mandate is regulate, promote and coordinate education offered by higher education institutions in Malawi.

Some of its major functions include to design and recommend an institutional quality assurance system for higher education and to recommend to the Minister of education institutional quality assurance standards for the establishment, standardization and accreditation of higher education institutions.

NCHE for Strengthened quality assurance systems in higher education institutions

The National Council for Higher Education (NCHE) has stressed the need for the establishment and functioning of quality assurance units in all higher education institutions (HEIs).

NCHE Deputy Chief Executive Officer Professor Dixie Maluwa-Banda, made the observation at the launch of the 3 year United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) - Shenzen Project for needs assessment on quality assurance units in HEIs.

The launch, which drew participants from both public and private HEIs, took place recently at the Malawi Assemblies of God University (MAGU) in Lilongwe.

The project, being spearheaded by NCHE, was launched under the theme ‘Strengthening Quality Assurance in Higher Education’.

Professor Maluwa-Banda said this project is important as it will promote quality higher education in the country.

“Quality assurance in higher education is gaining momentum in Africa hence as Malawi we must not be left behind. This project is an opportunity for us to ensure that we produce quality candidates for the job market,” he said.

Representing the Secretary for Education, Science and Technology, Chief Education Officer (Higher Education) in the Ministry Dr. Valentino Zimpita, said the project is important especially looking at the theme.

Dr. Zimpita noted that increased demand for higher education has led to the diversification and massification of higher education in the country.

“It is pleasing to note that apart from government, key stakeholders are concerned in quality so that graduates from all HEIs are recognizable internationally. It is imperative that HEIs themselves shoulder the responsibility of ensuring quality assurance at all levels,” said Dr. Zimpita.

He said government will continue to provide policy direction in the higher education sector but that higher education institutions need to adhere to policy as set by government including the setting up of regulatory bodies like NCHE.

The 3 year UNESCO- Shenzen project runs from 2017-2020. It is also being implemented in 9 other African countries.

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.

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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