Malawi: Catholic Church to open university

The Roman Catholic Church in the southern African state of Malawi, has announced plans to open a university next July. The head of the Roman Catholic Church in Malawi, Archbishop Tarcizius Ziyaye, who is also the Chancellor of the Catholic University, told delegates to the University's first public lecture, that the institution, aims at responding to the acute shortage of properly qualified teachers. "Our decision to set up a Catholic university underlines our commitment to proper teacher formation, he said. According to Ziyaye, the university will offer Bachelor of Arts and Bachelor of Science degrees for primary and secondary school teachers, Bachelor of Arts and Bachelor of Science in special education needs and Bachelor of Social Sciences in anthropology, economics, political sciences, social welfare and sociology. When fully operational, the university will house 600 students, which he noted, is a significant contribution to the nation considering that only a small percentage of the relevant age group make it through tertiary education. In addition, this university is likely to give the Malawi government a breather as it is struggling to train more teachers. The country has a critical shortage of teachers owing mostly to numerous deaths dogging the education sector caused by the HIV/Aids pandemic. Every year thousands of teachers die due to HIV/Aids related illnesses, thereby making the teacher- pupil gap unbridgeable. The Education Minister Kate Kainja Kaluluma said recently that her ministry wished to train 11,000 teachers every year to meet the growing need for teachers. Kainja Kaluluma said while the country needs 54,000 primary school teachers, there were only 43,000 qualified ones. At secondary level there are just 9,044 teachers while 27,000 are required. There are currently two universities run by churches in Malawi: The African Bible College and the Livingstonia University owned by Church of Central Africa Presbytery. There are also two state universities: the University of Malawi, with five constituent colleges and Mzuzu University.

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