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I want to welcome you to Kamuzu Palace. Please, feel comfortable.

I am delighted to meet you and hear your concerns, particularly because I

believe in dialogue. I am here to listen to you!
You have done the right thing to seek this kind of dialogue. Dialogue is the right
thing to do. I do not believe that breaking other peoples cars and burning your own
hostels will bring you any solution.
But I am still proud of you as University Students. You are this nations
forthcoming intellectuals, decision makers and solution finders.
I know that there are some students who genuinely want dialogue for us to find a
balanced solution. But I also know that there are some who want to use fees as an excuse
for their own politics.

But lets focus on fees. I am fully aware that we have a matter before us that needs
to be addressed with sober reasoning. We need to find the right balances.
On the one hand, all of us will be proud to take our education standards high to
international levels. There is always a cost for high education standards wherever you go
in the world. On the other, we need to attend to our local situations, including the
income levels for most Malawians.
It is because we care about those who cannot afford that we have increased the
loan facility in our nation budget. I do not want you to believe that university education
is free.
As we think towards finding a solution towards your concerns, I want us to bear the
following factors in mind.
Our problem in education goes beyond money. It is important to realize this point,
because we need to avoid looking at the problem in a narrow perspective.
There are three pillars of education that matter to us as a nation. In our case, we
(a) quality of university education
(b) access to university education and (c) the relevance of that education.

Our quality of university education needs to be improved. You yourselves are not
happy with some of the conditions and environment in which you learn. Most Malawians
want us to improve our education.
We dont want you to graduate as international rejects. I dont want the
international community of universities questioning our qualifications.
As a nation, we also need all deserving students to access university education.
There are those who can afford, but there are also many students whose parents cannot
afford. The question is: have we not put in place reasonable measures to enable those
who cannot afford?
Apart from access to university education, we also need to ensure that university
education is relevant to our needs as a nation.
The question of relevance involves curriculum reviewing processes, modern
equipment and up-to-date books and reference materials. This cannot be for free.
The question of adjusting fees, which brings you here, is about accessing
university education. Access needs to be balanced with the quality and relevance of
our education.
But as we seek about the right balances, we must also consider that the minimum
cost of training one student in our public universities is K2.5 million per year, and the
maximum is K5.5 million. This is what Government already pays for each of you, and for
every student.
Your University Councils are asking you to pay about K400,000 or thereabouts.
So, let me hear your concerns and proposals. I am listening.
Thank you for your attention.