Government has established 11 of the planned 28 technical colleges across Malawi to provide technical skills and encourage entrepreneurship.

The new established vocational colleges are; in the North: Karonga, Mzimba and Nkhata Bay; in the Centre: Nkhotakota, Dowa, Mchinji and Dedza while in the South: Blantyre, Chiradzulu, Phalombe and Thyolo.

Making the remarks during an opening of one the colleges Minister of Labor and Manpower Development Henry Mussa revealed that the colleges will initially provide training in five generic trades of brick laying, carpentry and joinery, metal fabrication and welding, plumbing and textile and design.

So far, Malawi has only had seven national technical colleges, namely Soche, Lilongwe, Mzuzu, Salima, Nasawa, Don Bosco and Namitete.

These national colleges have a capacity of 2 000 students against an estimated 50 000 school leavers every year, according to Mussa.

“Thus, from the five generic trades of 20 students per class, we shall have a graduation of 2 800 students per year,” said Mussa.

“That is no mean achievement when you consider that the national colleges have room for 2 000 students only.”

Mussa said the trades training will be offered at a token fee of K3 000 out of which K2 500 will be administration fee and K500 as examination fee.

“Since the labour market is limited, most of the graduates will end in self-employment, which will lead to the emergence of small and medium enterprises (SMEs) which is important for a growing economy like Malawi,” he said.

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ZIMENE MUMAKONDA

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