The president of Malawi is a “champion of education”.
- The executive announces draconian hikes in school fees.
- The country is in uproar.
- The legislative forbids the draconian hikes
- The executive does not waver, it declares this is none of the legislative business, and that the draconian fee hikes stand.
- The executive announces that the fee hikes are suspended.
This is called bad governance. The executive takes bad measures and is forced, after loud muttering, to withdraw. Fee hikes this draconian (up to 150 times the current fees!) are bad under any circumstances. If adjustments are justified, then they should be implemented incrementally, so current students can finish their education, and generation after generation can adjust to the new fees. Suspending them “until the economy improves” is not good enough. 15000% increase is draconian, always, also when the economy improves. And then, what is the standard for “the economy improves”. Does that mean a 50% increase in Gross National Product? Or a 60 % increase in Gross National Income? Or a 30% lowering of the GINI coefficient? Or a 80% diminishing of extreme poverty? We have no idea, we get no explanation.
What we need is a visionary government that looks at the long term needs of the country. And we all knows that in the advanced 21st century, the population will need to be well educated to compete on the world market and to “improve the economy”. At the moment the majority of the population are
poor, and cannot afford high school fees, so only a small group of Malawian can afford to send their children to secondary education, let alone tertiary.
That means government needs to step in to make sure the nation is sufficiently educated, now and in the future. Not hiking school fees in draconian ways, not zigzagging around draconian hikes.
No, affordable school fees now and in the future are in the National Interest.