Needy students petition Parliament over loans’ access

Needy students from the Malawi College of Health Sciences (MCHS) have petitioned the national assembly seeking its intervention on accessing High Education Loans.

The students say they want Parliament to amend the 2015 Parliamentary Act number 2 which exclude the students from accessing loans from the Higher Education Students` Loans and Grants Board on the basis that it does not offer Bachelor’s degrees.

According Student Mother Union President Davidson Mkandawire said the needy students are suffering in all the three campuses yet their tuition fees is much higher as compared to some colleges that have access to the loans.

“The college forms the backbone of the Health System in Malawi. Therefore, we would like to be accessing this loan too. We as needy students are suffering, we are eating roasted sweet potatoes every day, and some of our friends are on the verge of dropping out.

“The situation on the ground is that the college is aligned to Ministry of Health which is contrary to the ministerial order. This is making the college to have no line ministry. We therefore want this to be corrected,” said Mkandawire.

Having received the petition on behalf of the Speaker, Vice Chairperson for the Education, Science and Technology Committee of the House Ephraim Nayeja said the lawmakers will consider the matter for deliberation.

“There are several issues that they have raised and several ministries will be involved in the discussion, so will have to sit down on a roundtable discussion and map the way forward on how best we can assist our students to access loans for their fees,” said Nayeja.

The current school fees at MCHS is K550, 000 per academic year which minus food and accommodation.

MCHS is a parastatal that was established by Ministerial Order in 1996 under the Ministry of Education and the college has three campuses which are Lilongwe, Zomba and Blantyre.

MCHS trains middle level health workers in various medical fields such as: Clinical Medicine, Radiography, Pharmacy, Environmental Health, Nursing and Midwifery, Clinical Ophthalmology, Intensive Care Medicine (Anesthesia), Orthopedics, Dental, Optometry, Biomedical Sciences, Ear Nose and Throat (ENT), Community Health Nursing.

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