The Wise One decided not to tickle your bone this week. He has something else on him mind.L
ast week the Vice Chancellor of the University of Malawi, Emmanuel Fabiano, was reported by the Daily Times, bashing politicians and other able Malawians for not rising up to the challenge of ensuring that people in their areas get adequate education for the good of the nation.
"In some communities, ordinary people do come together and provide in their own small way for their relations or people in their area to attain education. But how many politicians do the same in their areas other than thinking about themselves and their children?
"How many Members of Parliament take the initiative, as individuals or as a group of people, to mobilise resources to ensure that others are educated?
"Some of them have been in politics for too long but have educated no one nor initiated any sensible education programme in their area,” Fabiano is reported to have said.
The University of Malawi boss recognised the efforts of the onetime Lower Shire political stalwart, Gwanda Chakuamba and the contributions of former cabinet minister, Harry Thomson. He hailed the efforts of the two which have contributed considerably towards young people in Chikwawa and Nsanje with some attaining reasonable education, some as far as university.
Of Chakumba, he was all praises: "Mind you, Chakuamba did not come from a poor background [to be made to think that education would be the only sure way out of poverty]. His father had a two-storey building when he was young, their house run on electricity from their own hydro power plant and they had many cattle.
"But I believe he saw the importance of education to the nation and took the initiative to help others attain it. Some may say it was for political reasons but you can't say that was a small contribution to the nation."
"I have the names of the schools and I know what they have done to education levels in Chikwawa over time. Today, Chikwawa has improved in terms of contributing students to the university and you can't ignore the role of those secondary schools," he said.
"If we had many such people in our respective areas, politicians or not, doing that because they understand the value of education to the nation, this country would not have had only a few people getting the best education today," he said.
"The problem we have is that people who are knowledgeable, who understand the importance of education want to keep that importance to themselves and to their children only," said Fabiano.
He said the university was working at improving the numbers of students it admits from all the regions of the country and emphasised the need for civil and political leaders to understand the importance of education as a tool not for selfish reasons but for nation building.
He also urged for more programmes at secondary and primary level to enhance equitable access to university education
End of story from The Daily Times.
We aren't privy to the questions that our colleagues at the Daily Times put to the learned VC to prompt this eloquent and well-argued response.
What we can't however comprehend was where this eloquence was during the time of the University stand-off.
While we are aware of the wisdom of letting by gones to be bygones, we cannot help but wonder at the sincerity of the Vice Chancellor.
We fully agree with his observation on politicians; but we equally find him wanting on his own contribution and seriousness to education in Malawi.
A whole year was wasted when he and his buddies were needlessly dragging the Chanco stand-off despite not one, not two but many court rulings made in favour of the lecturers, who were too scared to teach.
Our advice to Dr Fabiano, who happened to eradicate ignorance from some of us in his heyday is that he should first attend to the log in his eyes before he starts pointing at specks in other people’s eyes.
To paraphrase him: If we had people in the University Council and Management, Vice Chancellors or not, standing up to politicians or autocratic presidents for that matter, who try to turn the University Lecture Theatres into training grounds for regime spies, the graduation of our sons and daughters at Chancol wouldn't have been delayed unnecessarily.
Now, look who is talking!
---©2012 The Maravi Post. Reproduction authorised, with usual acknowledgment.