University of Malawi

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University of Malawi
Established 1964
Vice-Chancellor Professor John Saka
Location Malawi Zomba, Malawi
Campus Urban

The University of Malawi is an educational institution established in 1964 and composed of five constituent colleges located in Zomba, Blantyre, and Lilongwe. Of the five colleges, the largest is Chancellor College in Zomba. The name of the school is abbreviated to UNIMA. It is part of the Malawian government educational system. The present Vice Chancellor is Professor John Kalenga Saka.


The vision of the University of Malawi is to provide "relevant, world-class education, research and services for the sustainable development of Malawi and the world."[1]


The university is the center of knowledge, development of skills values, ideas and attitudes for engaging developmental challenges in the country.[2]


University of Malawi

The University of Malawi was founded a few months after Malawi Independence.[1] The first enrollment consisted of 90 students in Blantyre.[1] Teaching began in 1965 in Blantyre, and within two years the Institute of Public Administration at Mpemba, the Soche Hill College of Education and the Polytechnic in Blantyre, and Bunda College in Lilongwe became colleges of the university. In 1973, all the constituents of the university apart from the polytechnic and Bunda College moved to Zomba and were merged into Chancellor College. In 1979, Kamuzu College of Nursing became a college of the university, and in 1991 the College of Medicine in Blantyre was formed as a further constituent college.

Student Movements for Multi-Party Rule (1992)[edit]

During the movement towards multiparty rule, UNIMA students participated through a student protest.[3] In March 1992, when Catholic Bishops in Malawi issued a Lenten Pastoral Letter that criticized Banda and his government, students of the University of Malawi at Chancellor College and the Polytechnic joined in through protests and demonstrations in support of the letter.[3] This forced the authorities to close the campuses.[3]

Academic Freedom Protests 2011[edit]

Associate Professor Blessings Chinsinga was summoned by Inspector General of Police Peter Mukhito over an example he used in class where he drew parallels between the peoples protests in Egypt and Tunisia of 2011 which ousted their dictators to the fuel shortage crisis in Malawi that began in 2010.[4] This was during a political science class.[5] According to Chancellor College Academic Staff Union president, Jessie Kabwila-Kapasula, Mukhito's action was interfering with academic freedom. The lecturers at the college abandoned classes and demanded an apology from the police chief and assurances of academic freedom before they can resume classes.[4] Mukhito has so far refused to apologize citing that academic freedom must be balanced with issues of national security.[4] President Bingu wa Mutharika urged university students to avoid street demonstrations that may affect their education without directly referring to this incident. The students resolved to demonstrate in solidarity with their lecturers in support academic freedom and quality education. They were denied a permit by Zomba District Commissioner Daniel Phiri for the reasons that the 'last demonstration was not peaceful.' Furthermore, in a controversial move on March 6, 2011, President Mutharika effectively banned street protests when he ordered that anyone seeking to hold demonstrations must post a 2 million Malawi Kwacha (about US$13,000) bond as insurance on property that may get damaged should the demonstrations become destructive.[4] Students that protested in support of academic freedom were tear-gassed by armed anti-riot police on March 8, 2011 for defying the order not to protest.[4] Several students, including Chancellor College Student Union president Lonjezo Sithole were arrested.[4] student and lecturer strikes continued for several weeks resulting in the temporary closing of the Chancellor college and Polytechnic university.[6] Mishandling of Academic freedom was part of the contributing factors that led to the nation wide protests on July 20th, 2011 against the Mutharika administration and the presiding Minister of education, Peter Mutharika. President Mutharika succumbed to the demands of the Academic Staff Union and he apologized on behalf of IG Peter Mukhito and their academic freedom was also guaranteed. The wrangle was thus resolved after 8 months from the time of its onset.

Youth for Freedom and Democracy[edit]

Youth for Freedom and Democracy (YFD) is a student political pressure group on campus. They publish the "Weekly Political Update" that is circulated to students on campus.[7] They have been critical of Malawi's governance, and of the Paladin Energy mining company. In mid September, Malawian police arrested several members of the group. They also arrested 21-year-old Black Moses, president of the YFD and interrogated him. A week later, 25-year-old Robert Chasowa, a fourth-year engineering student at the Malawi Polytechnic was found dead.[8] Police ruled this a suicide but critics believe that he was murdered.

Constituent colleges and academics[edit]

Chancellor College
Malawi Polytechnic

Current colleges[edit]

Bunda College, (Lilongwe)[edit]

Bunda College of Agriculture offers BSc's, MSc's and PhD degrees in Agriculture, Environmental Sciences and Development Studies.[9] Its mission is to advance and promote knowledge,skills,self-reliance and sound character for " sustainable food production and utilization; Improving income, food security and nutrition; and Conservation and management of biodiversity, the environment and natural resources.[10] It is situated in Lilongwe 35.2 km from the capital city center.[9] Nearby is the College farm serving commercial, practical, academic and research purposes.[9]

Chancellor College, (Zomba)[edit]

Chancellor College is the largest college of the constituent colleges of the University of Malawi. It is also known as 'Chanco'. The college has five faculties: Faculty of Humanities, Faculty of Science, Faculty of Law, Faculty of Social Science and Faculty of Education.[11] Departments service each faculty as follows:
Education: Curriculum and Teaching Studies and Educational Foundations

Humanities: African Languages and Linguistics, Classics, English, Fine and Performing Arts, French, Language and Communication Skills, Philosophy and Theology and Religious Studies.[11]

Science: Biology, Chemistry, Geography and Earth Sciences, Home Economics, Physics, Mathematical Sciences.

Social Science: Economics, History, Psychology, Political and Administrative studies and Sociology.[11]

College of Medicine, (Blantyre)[edit]

The University of Malawi houses a medical school, the College of Medicine (COM), which trains Malawian doctors that work both in Malawi and internationally. candidates to be considered for medical training either enter after a one-year premedical training following their MSCE or after completing two years of a science course at Chancellor College. Out of about 250 doctors that had graduated from the University of Malawi-College of Medicine between 1992 and 2005, 25 (10%) were reported to be registered with the UK General Medical Council which has contributed to a healthcare worker brain drain in Malawi.

The College of Medicine has seen tremendous advancement in its board of administrators and infrastructure ever since its introduction in 1992. The college now has Four undergraduate courses which include the five-year-long Bachelor of Medicine and Surgery(MBBS, and the four-year-long programs of Bachelors of Medical Laboratory Sciences(MLS), Bachelors Physiotherapy (Hon) and Bachelor of Pharmacy (Hon). All the undergraduate student need to undergo a one year premedical program at the college or must have finished their A-levels at recommended schools or must have attended a two-year science course at recommended college in order to be eligible for the programs offered at the College of Medicine.[12] In addition, the college has a long stating relationship with the University of St Andrews School of Medicine in Scotland. In 2011, 10 students from the University of St Andrews School of Medicine visited the college on exchange. Both schools run the Global Health Education Workshops/Module (GHEP) which seeks to provide a forum for discussion of pressing global health issues like climate change, overpopulation, epidemics and the concept of good aid.

Kamuzu College of Nursing, (Lilongwe),[edit]

Entry requirements for nursing and paramedical training institutions is the Malawi School Certificate of Education (Ordinary Level). Nursing and midwifery training is for three years and is offered at the Malawi College of Health Sciences and any of the eight mission nursing schools scattered in mostly rural mission hospitals.[12] The Kamuzu College of Nursing provides nursing degrees categorised as generic (degrees offered to students enrolled from straight from secondary school), post-basic (degrees offered to enrolled nurses who have‘acceptable’ O-level grades and with at least two years of service) Bachelor of Science in Advanced Midwifery and Diploma in Nursing.[12] Out of an estimated 4000 nurses active in Malawi in 2005, 453 who had been trained in Malawi were reported to be working in OECD countries (WHO, 2006). This represented 11.3% of the number of nurse active in the country.[12]

Malawi Polytechnic, (Blantyre)[edit]

Polytechnic has fifteen departments offering undergraduate degrees in accounting, business administration, management, civil, mechanical and electrical engineering, architecture and land management, environmental management, computing and information technology, journalism, language and communication, mathematics and statistics, physics and biochemical sciences, technical education and quantity surveying.[13]

Polytechnic offers postgraduate programs in business administration, infrastructure development and transport management in response to the emerging needs of the industry.[13]

Former colleges[edit]

  • Institute of Public Administration
  • Soche Hill College of Education


The University of Malawi had 6,257 full-time students in 2007.[1] Of those, 6226 were Malawian citizens, 26 were from SADC countries and 5 were from other, non-SADC countries.[1]

Vice Chancellors of the university[edit]

Notable alumni[edit]


  1. ^ a b c d e "University of Malawi". SARUA. Retrieved 2010-12-27. 
  2. ^ Fred Gennings Wanyavinkhumbo Msiska1. "The Brain Drain-Gain, Quality of Higher Education and Development in Malawi". National University of Ireland, Galway. Retrieved 2011-03-15. 
  3. ^ a b c "Afrikka" (PDF). Retrieved 2010-12-27. 
  4. ^ a b c d e f Pana (09/03/2011). "Malawi: Police teargas protesting students, make arrests in Malawi". Afrique en ligne. Retrieved 2011-03-09. 
  5. ^ Roisin Joyce (20 February 2011). "Malawi: Academic interrogated over lecture content". University World News. Retrieved 2011-03-09. 
  6. ^ Malawi: University chaos dominates Malawi media
  7. ^ MALAWI: Police quiz academics over pressure group - University World News
  8. ^
  9. ^ a b c Bunda College Website
  10. ^ Bunda College of Agriculture
  11. ^ a b c University of Malawi : Chancellor College
  12. ^ a b c d
  13. ^ a b University of Malawi - The Polytechnic
  14. ^ "University of Malawi: Vice Chancellor". University of Malawi. Retrieved 19 July 2011. 
  15. ^ "University of Malawi: Previous Chancellors". University of Malawi. Retrieved 19 July 2011. 

External links[edit]

Main site[edit]

Department links[edit]