Minister Katsonga and MUST Vice-Chancellor Malata signing the MoU
By Victor Singano Jnr.
Minister of Trade and Industry, Mark Katsonga Phiri says Malawi Government through his ministry is committed in working together with local institutions of higher learning for them not work in isolation in advancing science, technology and innovation.
The Minister said this at Malawi University of Science and Technology (MUST) on Friday during the signing ceremony of Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) between the University and Ministry of Trade and Industry held at MUST campus at Goliati in Thyolo.
He said the partnership will help to produce quality products that can improve the economy of the country, saying for a long time, learning institutions and the government have been working in isolation in industrial research and innovation.
This, Katsonga said, resulted in challenges when it comes to developing the nation with through innovative products which can be competitive on the local as well as international market.
He said it is the high time that the country’s universities and the government itself, as well as all stakeholders, worked together in developing the technologies from the universities and co-ordinate with government to be passing on innovations to the industry.
“Most of the countries in the world are doing well economically because they always work together with universities and in so doing they come up with very innovative products which are competitive on the market.
“So from this year, we want to bring all learning institutions together and make sure we are going in one direction because most students once they finish their education they don’t apply the knowledge.
“So, the ministry is now committed to discuss with all the institutions of higher learning to come together and work hand in hand in producing quality products which well will also be selling to other countries instead of just relying on buying from outside countries each and every year,” Katsonga said.
In her remarks, MUST Vice-Chancellor, Address Malata said she was very delighted for being the first university to sign the MoU with the Ministry of Trade and Industry, saying it is a good development that will help to achieve the university’s agenda of advancing science; technology and innovation.
She attested that such agenda can easily be fulfilled through working together with partners such as the government and other stakeholders.
She further said the MoU is a great morale booster as the institution is trying to push for products to be produced from the university and improve the economy.
“As we are speaking, we’ve built an industrial park and we are working towards finishing it,” she said. Our objective is to create a platform where we’ll be producing products of high quality which can be exported to other countries.”
The Minister was taken on a tour of the industrial park as well as one of the Ministry’s site at Chigumula in Limbe where the government is planning to build its own industrial park aimed at enabling both local and foreign investors to acquire land and develop it.
Last month, MUST charted a new path in the history of the country’s tertiary education by launching the first of its kind academic journal, Advances in Science & Arts — set to provide high quality, reviewed, open access infrastructure for scholarly articles and other products of research and development.
At the launch, director of research, postgraduate studies and outreach, Dr. Alfred Maluwa said the Advances in Science and Arts journal was established as a response to the MUST’s vision, mission and strategic objectives.
MUST’s Vision is to be a world class center of science and technology education, research and entrepreneurship and the Advances in Science and Arts journal complements the vision of the Directorate of Research and Outreach, “which is to become world class center of excellence in research and outreach”.
The strategies to achieve this vision include conducting high quality research by both faculty and students; translating the research results into evidence based policy and translating the research results into evidence based curricula.
The Journal is also aimed at providing a platform for networking and sharing of research results with the global scientific community and to increase MUST’s visibility, nationally, regionally and globally through e-journal infrastructure.
The journal is designed to publish in volumes, issues and sections — one volume per year with 2 issues, in July and December.
Sections will depend upon the disciplines such as science, technology, engineering, mathematics, arts, humanities and others.
It is open access for staff and its students and postgraduates, free of charge and available to everyone on the global with only high quality manuscripts shall be published.
The journal — designed internally — is owned by MUST and is exclusively open access and without transfer of copyrights.
Maluwa said they came up with this initiative for MUST to attain world class status in the advancement of science and arts and is designed to enrich contributors’ CVs in the dissemination of knowledge.
Guest of honour Dr. Joshua Valeta, director of higher learning in the Ministry of Education, also said journal ties well with the development aspirations of Malawi as espoused through the Malawi 2063.
“Research, which the journal seeks to promote through publications, is one way of generating new knowledge that will inform our decisions and come up with innovations as we implement and realise the MW2063.
He applauded MUST for being aggressive and innovative to develop the international standard journal, saying in just a few years of its existence it has charted another new path towards the development of the country’s social and economic through science and technology.
He urged other universities to emulate this example set by MUST, saying tertiary education in Malawi has over the years focused on just teaching and learning with less research.
“So as Ministry of Education, we are very pleased to see that MUST is not satisfied to just offer teaching and learning,” he said. “The University realises that the mandate of a university is three fold, offer teaching and learning, conduct research and carry out outreach activities. The latter is mostly a product of research.”—Additional reporting by Duncan Mlanjira, Maravi Express