Nuka and Prof Malata signing the agreement
* Standard Bank believes that investment in education contributes positively to the overall growth of our nation
* The fund we are disbursing today will help students to acquire the desired education at the same time improving education standards at MUST
By Duncan Mlanjira
Standard Bank Plc has released its second phase of K80 million investment towards the Endowment Fund for Malawi University of Science & Technology (MUST), which was set up in July 2021 to assist needy students and enhance resource mobilization at the institution.
Standard Bank committed a four-year sponsorship to the Endowment Fund to be distributed in divisions of K20 million per year and the first K20 million was contributed last year.
Speaking during the handover ceremony, William Nuka — head of engineering and chairperson of the Bank’s corporate social investment (CSI) committee — said that the fund seeks to improve access to education for students and further improve service provision at the institution.
“Standard Bank believes that investment in education contributes positively to the overall growth of our nation, he said. “Therefore, the fund we are disbursing today will help students to acquire the desired education at the same time improving education standards at MUST.”
Nuka added that the funding resonates well with Standatd Bank’s core purpose, which seeks to see the growth of Malawi in all sectors.
“Our purpose as Bank is ‘Malawi is Our Home, We Drive Her Growth’. As such we understand the impact of our contribution towards initiatives that are propelling developmental growth such as MUST’s endowment fund,” he said.
Through the funding, Nuka said Standard Bank is enhancing equity in the education sector, saying: “As a Bank, we are aware of MUST’s policy which states that no student should withdraw due to financial and equipment challenges.
“Our contribution is aligned with the policy to ensure that every student has equal access to education with suitable equipment.”
MUST’s Vice-Chancellor, Professor Address Malata predicted positive growth of the institution, which will emanate from the cordial relationship between the two entities.
“Since we started our operations in 2014, Standard Bank has been a partner for growth — helping MUST to be financially sustainable. The contribution will help to enhance delivery of education at the institution and assist needy students.
“Through the Endowment Fund, MUST is aligning itself with the MW2063 development blueprint. Therefore, the contribution is a catalyst for achieving objectives of the plan.
“As an education institution we hope to see the growth of the Endowment Fund’s revenue to K30 billion. As a result the institution will be contributing 40% to our budget in the process helping the government to achieve the MW2063 vision,” she said.
Malata assured Standard Bank of the safety and accountability of the funds at the warm heart of higher education in the country.
MUST Endowment Fund — whose motto is ‘Create True Legacy’ — was established in 2021 to provide a more sustainable mechanism of resource mobilization to support needy students and also foster the university’s developments.
Within two years of establishment, the MUST Endowment Fund is close to K2 billion, which will be used for tuition fees and other infrastructure development after a tenure of three years.
At the press briefing to announce the launch of the Fund in 2021, MUST’s director of finance & investment, MacDonald Hudge and director of MUST Institute of Industrial & Innovation, Dr. David Mkwambisi explained that the funding from government is not enough to sustain their services and took a leaf from foreign universities — especially from the USA where they weaned themselves from dependency on government subventions by establishing endowment funds.
He said MUST had decided to take a similar approach as a strategy for diversifying revenue streams after taking cognizance that universities in Malawi have received annual donations from individuals and corporates in support of tuition fees and living expenses for students.
But whilst this has for sure facilitated education of those supported, it has no assurance of its sustainability and that it benefitted a few whilst the Endowment Fund is invested with financial institutions to yield interest to cater for its services.
The principal gift from the donor is continually preserved and only the proportion of the yield is spent annually and given their permanence — giving an assurance that teaching, research and service can be sustained forever while the donors legacy continually being recognised.
“The support goes beyond the donors’ lifetime and the funds will continue to grow and beat inflation,” Hudge had said while Mkwambisi attested that students shouldn’t be allowed to withdraw because they cannot afford to pay their school fees as this is a loss of resources spent on such students by the university and a loss of human resource for the national agenda.
The benefits of the trust is that the donation survives the life of the giver, thus creating true legacy and that an individual donor has the priviledge of naming their gift to a family member, a friend, a special faculty member or themselves.
A donor is relieved of the burden of managing their funds and that MUST is contractually obligated to spend on the fund in accordance with the donor’s wishes and will give regular updates of how the fund is growing and being utilised.
A donor can increase their gift in installments and the minimum value of gifts is K20 million for corporates and K5 million for individuals. Nonetheless, the University may accept lower amounts as a gift for the general pool and the donors shall receive annual reports.
MUST believes that the Endowment Fund “is held in perpetuity, the society at large benefits the most because, when students graduate, they engage in gainful employment or business and thus contribute to national development”.