24 November 2017
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Tuesday, 31 October 2017 07:52

Government for infrastructure development in technical colleges

Written by  Solister Mogha
The new structure at Soche Technical college - Pic by Francis Mphweya The new structure at Soche Technical college - Pic by Francis Mphweya

Blantyre, October 31, 2017: Minister of Labour, Youth, Sports and Manpower Development, Francis Kasaila Monday said government is geared to improve infrastructure development in all technical colleges of the country as a way of increasing enrollment in these institutions.

Speaking in Blantyre after inspecting construction works for the new ICT Library and Business center block at Soche Technical College, he said government was concerned with the current infrastructural status of almost all technical colleges which he described as pathetic and not conducive for higher learning.

The Minister pointed that the current infrastructure in these colleges, apart from being unfriendly to learners, also limited the number of students to be accommodated against the alarming public demand.

“The technical colleges that we have were built at a time when the population was too small and demand for technical knowledge was minimal. Today, our population is so huge and there is pressure on technical knowledge.

“Having these challenges in mind, government with support from African Development Bank (ADB) and European Union and through the Higher Education, Science and Technology (HEST) project has embarked on an infrastructure development programme that will see construction of new structure in our technical colleges,” Kasaila explained.

He said Nasawa, Lilongwe, Salima and Soche technical colleges are the ones that will benefit from the K 46 Million project.

In addition, the project covers Mzuzu University, Chancellor College and the Malawi Polytechnic.

Kasaila said once completed, the new facilities would offer enough space for students as well as equip them with modern knowledge such Information Communications and Technology (ICT) which will be incorporated in their lessons.

“We are running away from mineral deposit resources and we now want to invest much in knowledge resource. It is the government’s wish to upgrade all tertiary institutions and equip with them with the necessary high technology learning materials.

“With these modern infrastructure and learning materials, we expect that our learners shall be able to conduct science research and through that contribute to national development,” he said.

The Minister has since hailed contractors for the good work and for sticking to the contract time.

Principal for Soche Technical College, Evance Mlelemba pointed out that lack of learning space and poor infrastructure are some of the challenges facing all technical colleges in the country.

He said the new block under construction once completed would reduce congestion and increase in the number of students the college can accommodate per year.

“There huge demand out there but we are limited by the space. Per year, we enroll about 200 students and leave out many of them. It is our prayer that government will continue upgrading our colleges so that we could be able to offer enough space to many youths,” Mlelemba explained.

The Soche ICT Library and Business center block will among others have seminar rooms that will accommodate 300 students, Audio visual room for 120 students, and ICT workshop for 30 students.

In addition the block will also have staff offices; special needs students and an ICT laboratory.

According to the site contractor at Soche, Prakash Ghedia who is the Managing Director for Paramount Holdings Limited said they expect to finish the building by December this year.

“ We were expected to finish construction works by September but the ground was too rocky and we spent two solid months working on the site  but still, we are sure that come December, we will have completed everything and ready to hand over to government,” he said.

Government of Malawi highly believes in Technical education and to address challenges of limited space introduce community technical colleges. The idea behind this is to allow the youth engage in something that would generate income for themselves and that way contribute to the social economic status of the country.

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