MALAWI: Top university dumps quota system

The University of Malawi has dumped a controversial quota system for the selection of students that saw it being taken to court last year. A press statement released by the chancellor's office said this year's students had been selected on merit.

The university announced the names of successful candidates selected to pursue various programmes at Chancellor College and Polytechnic on a non-residential basis.

The non-residential selection, the statement added, was "based on merit using the combined aggregate of the Malawi School Certificate Examination results and University Entrance Examinations results. Consideration was also given to individual choices as well as faculty requirements."

A total of 1,075 candidates had applied for non-residential programmes and 445 had been selected. Of the total selected, 312 were male and 133 female. Fees of Malawi kwacha 100,000 (US$725) would be charged for non-science courses, and kwacha 115,000 for science courses.

Last year, the Malawi High Court outlawed the quota system, which involved students being selected into higher education on the basis of their district or region rather than straight merit.

The district quota system was first introduced by the late dictator Hastings Kamuzu Banda's Malawi Congress Party in 1988. But it was abandoned following a 1993 court ruling that it was discriminatory and in violation of the fundamental right of Malawian citizens to equitable development through equal opportunities to access higher education, regardless of one's district or region of origin or ethnicity.

Clemence Manyukwe


I wish the quota system wouldd just end because many northeners are suffering. People are left out, even those with the best grades, making people lose hope in the university.

Wezzie Longwe