Mutharika seals deal on technical colleges

Malawi President Peter
Mutharika, during his United
Nations (UN) visit, has sealed
a deal with United States of
America based charity,
Building Tomorrow (BT), to
start building technical
colleges in Malawi from
February next year.
This comes at the back of a
recent adoption of Malawi
government’s initiative on
the introduction of techincal
colleges in all the country’s
districts by the International
Labour Organisation (ILO).
The deal was sealed during a
meeting Mutharika held with
BT officials in New York
Thursday afternoon on the
sidelines of activities that are
part of the 69th session of
the UN General Assembly.
Confirming the development,
Foreign Affairs and
International Cooperation
Minister George Chaponda,
who attended the meeting,
told The Nation that the
construction of the colleges
will follow the visit of the BT
founder and executive
director George Srour to
Malawi early next year.
“We have managed to
successfully sell the vision of
the President about the need
for Malawi to have
community colleges for skills
development, especially
among the youth. We are
happy that they [BT] have
been inspired by it and have
agreed to support us,” said
Chaponda.
He said the two parties will
sign a memorandum of
understanding (MoU) next
month in October, which will
spell out all the particulars of
the deal.
“Those particulars will
include the number of
colleges to be constructed
and the duration of the
project,” said Chaponda.
The MoU signing, according
to the minister, will be
followed by a visit by Srour
to Malawi in February to set
the wheels of the project
running.
“BT has also introduced
another organisation which
is interested to provide
annual grants of $10 million
(about K4 billion) for
construction of water points
in Malawi,” he said.
The minister declined to
name the organisation,
saying a public disclosure at
this stage would endanger
their discussions.
Introduction of technical
colleges through out Malawi
is one of the main
programmes that President
Mutharika wants to
implement as a way of
imparting technical and
entrepreneurial skills to the
youth.
Labour Minister Henry Mussa
told The Nation last month
that his ministry was
currently conducting a study
to identify areas where the
colleges should be built.
“In areas where there are
already private technical
colleges, we are talking with
the owners to see if we can
go into a joint venture to
eliminate the possibility of
duplication and waste of
resources,” said Mussa.
Addressing a thanks-giving
political rally at Masintha in
Lilongwe about a fortnight
ago, Mutharika said his
administration was looking
at the possibility of having a
technical college each in all
the 193 constituencies in the
country.
BT is an international social-
profit organisation
empowering young people
to invest their resources,
time and talents in providing
access to education for their
peers in sub-Saharan Africa.
It envisions a world where
every child with a desire to
learn has a safe, permanent
and local place to do so.
When Srour first visited
Uganda as a United Nations
intern, he was struck by the
lack of education
infrastructure and how over-
crowded and inefficient the
existing schools were.
As such, through a campaign
which he initiated, called
Christmas in Kampala,
students at the school raised
almost $45 000 (about K18
million) to fund the
construction of a primary
academy in Kampala,
Uganda.
In May 2006, the school, now
known as Meeting Point
Kampala, was completed and
opened for enrolment.
After this campaign, Srour
was awarded the inaugural
Simon Fellowship for Noble
Purpose.
He has said that this is what
allowed him to make
building schools for children
in sub-Saharan Africa a full-
time job.
Srour created BT as a
continuation of Christmas in
Kampala.
There are currently 11
Building Tomorrow
Academies in operation in
Uganda and five under
construction.

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