Here is what he posted on his Sidik Mia facebook page
SIDIK MIA VS UNIVERSITY OF MALAWI STUDENT ON QUOTA SYSTEM
My Fellow Malawians,
Yesterday evening, a Chancellor College Student of the University of Malawi stormed my inbox, with guns blazing, firing a ‘loaded’ question bordering on quota system of selecting students to public universities. She demanded that my response to her question be posted here on my page for all Malawians to consume.
“Sir, I have been closely following your page and thank you so much for making yourself accessible to us through your page,” wrote the lady who advised that I conceal her identity (to which I obliged).
“We are looking up to your party to liberate this country as you can see for yourself that the current government has failed us. However, I have observed that your party has no clear position on quota system. I come from Mzimba District myself and I would like to know from you: Do you support quota system of selecting students to public universities?”
Thank you so much my daughter for this question and here I am, doing the needful, as per your demand.
What I know is that quota system of selecting students to public universities is, as I am making this post, a government policy, re-introduced in 2008/2009 by the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) during the late Bingu Wa Mutharika’s reign. Today, this policy is still in force, courtesy of Peter Mutharika, again of DPP.
The system, so I learnt, entails selecting a certain number of students per every district of this country to go to public universities.
The concern we have heard for the past years, has been that bright youngsters from some districts, fail to secure a university place while in other districts where students did not do so well, the university still accept such students. In other words, the opponents of this policy argue that merit is thrown to the bin in as far as this policy is concerned.
Thus, this hot debate on this government policy, has been concluded by critics, that the DPP administration, re-introduced this system in order to ‘punish’ students from some districts—accusing them of securing a disproportionate number of university places.
My daughter, I thought of providing this background as my position on this matter hinges on it.
Now, if indeed you closely follow my page as you stated, you may have observed the averment I have made time and again in some of my posts that I believe in meritocracy as opposed to cronyism, tribalism, regionalism and any other ism one may bring to my attention.
Over and above this, let us be guided by the supreme law of the land which happens to be the republican constitution.
One of the underlying principles of our constitution as provided under section 12 (f) provides that no one is above the law. In other words, we are all equal before the law just like we are equal in the eyes of God.
Proceeding on this basis, Section 25 (1) of the constitution as read together with section 20 of the same provides that all persons are entitled to education and that discrimination of persons in any form is prohibited and all persons are, under the law, guaranteed equal and effective protection against discrimination on grounds of race, colour, sex, language, religion, political or other opinion, nationality, ethnic or social origin, disability, property, birth or other status.
Thus this far, it is imperative to highlight that Malawi is one. Our sons and daughters across the country learn almost in a similar environment. They write the same exams. Under such circumstance, it is therefore disturbing to see those who have done well in that kind of exam, to be left out of the university, all in the name of quota system. What message are we then sending to those bright students who have been denied the opportunity to go to the university? Is it a case of denouncing excellence and glorifying mediocrity?
So to me, those who submit that quota system is discriminatory, make a plausible argument. I also add to say that quota system is a divisive policy which runs contrary to the dictates of the constitution.
MCP POSITION ON QUOTA SYSTEM
Your question was a loaded one. On one hand, you said MCP’s position is not clear on the matter and on the other hand, you asked me to make a position on the same.
So, having made my position on the matter, let me attempt to tackle what you branded as MCP’s unclear position on this policy.
My daughter, it is not true that MCP’s position on the matter is not clear. I think perhaps because of academic pressure on your part that you were unable to do a simple research as regards the party position on the same.
The President of the party, Dr Lazarus Chakwera, as recent as Saturday, 9th December, 2017, during a political rally in Mzuzu City, tackled the very same subject. (Please go to your Library’s archives and grab a copy of The Nation Newspaper of 11th December, 2017 for your reference).
Dr. Chakwera said quota system is not a good policy and he will therefore abolish it when he is given the mandate to rule this country in 2019. Dr Chakwera, articulated that MCP will use a holistic approach to solve this problem.
Our leader pointed out that MCP will partner with accredited church owned institutions of higher learning to absorb as many students as possible into universities. I also add, as a long term solution that is, that the Dr Chakwera run administration, will not be in the habit of laying foundation stones but will build more universities to address the challenge. MCP built all the universities in the country in its 31 year rule and is it not a shame that only one university, properly so called, has been built 24 years later?
Let me conclude by turning to the constitution again. One of the principles of national policy as articulated under section 13 (f) (iv) of the constitution requires the state to actively promote the welfare and development of the people of Malawi by progressively adopting and implementing policies and legislation aimed at achieving national unity.
This then begs the question: Is quota system, as a government policy, promoting unity in the country? It is not. Fortunately, MCP under Dr Chakwera, is committed to have this policy reviewed once you give DPP a red card next year.
May God Bless Malawi