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University of Malawi – A Brief History


The University of Malawi - -the mother university in Malawi - was founded in 1964. Teaching started on 29th September 1965 at the newly established campus which used to be an Asian Secondary School in Blantyre. Only 90 students were enrolled. By 1967, the then Institute of Public Administration at Mpemba, the Soche Hill College of Education, the Polytechnic, all these in Blantyre, and Bunda College of Agriculture in Lilongwe were incorporated as constituent colleges of the University of Malawi. Except Bunda College and the Polytechnic, the other colleges moved to Zomba in 1973 to form the Chancellor College campus. Kamuzu College of Nursing became the fourth constituent college in September 1979. In 1991 the College of Medicine was established in Blantyre as the fifth constituent college of the University of Malawi.

One cannot conceive of higher education in Malawi without talking about the mother of all universities – the University of Malawi. Since its establishment, the University of Malawi has been instrumental in training and developing a reliable human resource that has gone to service various sectors of society in the country and the region. The recent boom of universities in the country has partly been possible because personnel to run such universities is readily available, a huge percentage of which is University of Malawi trained. Graduates from the University of Malawi have gone to excel in other university in the region and beyond as graduate students as well as faculty. This attests to the quality of graduates that the university churns.

In addition to the colleges, the University of Malawi has Research Centres. These are: Centre for Social Research; Centre for Language Studies; Centre for Educational Research and Training; Gender Studies Unit; College of Medicine Research Centre; Nursing, Midwifery and Health Sciences Research Centre; Management Development Centre; Continuing Education Centre; Water Sanitation, Health and Technology Development Centre; Transport Technology Transfer Centre; and Commercial Technical Services Centre.

At present there are over 8,000 students on certificate, diploma and degree programmes. Undergraduate students are admitted to the University after obtaining their Malawi School Certificate of Education (equivalent to the British ‘O’ level [GCE]), IGCSE. Students apply through the National Council for Higher Education which oversees the harmonised selection process for all public universities in the country. The University of Malawi also admits ‘A’ level, International Baccalaureate, National Senior Certificate (NSC) and Advanced Subsidiary (AS) candidates. It also runs Mature Entry Programmes to carter for students with Diplomas and/or module related work experience. There are various postgraduate certificate and degree programmes on offer.