By Duncan Mlanjira
Mzuzu University (Mzuni) Alumni Association have organised dinner and dance on May 5 to be held at Bingu International Convention Centre (BICC) in Lilongwe as a fund-raiser to establish a scholarship fund for needy students.
President of the association Nicely Claude Msowoya said the event will be spiced by live performance from Lulu and Mathumela Band and attracts a fee of K50,000 for VIP tickets, K30,000 for singles, K50,000 for couples and K200,000 for a table of five people.
“We have also invited His Excellency the President, who happens to be the Patron of our association, as well as the Chief Secretary to Cabinet,” Msowoya said. “Further to that, we have invited MBC Television, Times Television and Zodiak Television to cover the event live.
Msowoya said the alumni were inspired to come to the fore after being concerned with the high dropout rate of students due to tuition fees.
“We have set up a committee known as Academic Liaison Committee, which in consultation with the Mzuni management, will come up with an assessment criteria on who is to benefit amongst the needy students,” Msowoya said.
“We want to start with five needy students and the number will grow in accordance with the growth of the fund which we target at MK20 million of which MK10 million will be invested and the other MK10 million in bankable business ventures where only its profits will be thrown into the fund.
“Initially, it will start as a bursary, but once it gains grounds we will establish it as a loan fund,” he said.
Background to the drop out problem
In 2016, government raised tuition fees for Mzuzu University from MK55,000 to MK280,000 per student per year. In the same year, Mzuzu University Council approved a further increase in fees from MK280,000 to MK350,000.
In 2017, the tuition fees is again supposed to be raised from MK350,000 to MK400,000. This translates to a percentage increase of 627% over a period of two years.
“Understandably, Mzuni is grappling with an acute failure to meet its expenditure expenses and let alone to clear its built arrears. Also understandable is the shock that such a huge raise has brought to the financial alignments of students who were meritoriously admitted to pursue their further studies at the University.
“Since this record increase in the tuition fees, Mzuzu University has recorded unprecedented dropout rates attributable to tuition fees and subsistence covers. It is within this background that Mzuzu University Alumni Association has organised this drive to mitigate the scale of the problem,” Msowoya said.
Other efforts so far done by the alumni was a Big Walk in the City of Lilongwe on 26th May 2018 where they raised some amount that has employed as start up for logistical capital towards this event.
“We have further raised membership subscription fees from the previous MK5,000 to the present MK10,O00 per annum which will also partly be used as start-up funding for this event.
“We faced some challenges in that the Big Walk fell well below our expected targets and the MK10,000 annual membership subscription is still way too little, the same also being employed towards our other activities.”
In courting potential sponsors, Msowoya says the live tlevision coverage will allow them to advertise their products and services and could be allowed to make a presentation and directly sell their products to the patrons.