The Malawi University of Science and Technology (MUST) which started with three undergraduate and two postgraduate programs in March 2014 continues to grow its portfolio of academic programs so that as the 2018/19 academic year opens this coming September, the university would have 20 undergraduate programs.
This follows the addition of six new programs this year across all the four schools.
According to Vice Chancellor Professor Address Malata, the growth is in line with the university's strategy to increase students access and introduce programs that complement government's development aspirations as espoused in the MGDS III and global development movements as provided for under the SDGs.
"Our programs are in line with government's major aspiration of turning Malawi from a net importer and consumer to one that produces and exports. That is why some of these programs are more into manufacturing and value addition. We are also looking at addressing some of the country's known challenges in areas such as energy, health, disasters, climate change, agriculture etc. We want to develop expertise to help us in these areas," she said when she opened a curriculum development workshop in Mangochi on March 6, 2018.
Professor Malata added that in line with MUST's core values and motto, the curriculum development process aims at ensuring that issues of excellence, competitiveness, innovativeness and entrepreneurship, among others, are entrenched into the programs to support development in Malawi and beyond.
The meeting in Mangochi has attracted academic staff from the university and stakeholders from industry and academic in the various program areas.
"We are developing curriculum for Bachelor of Engineering in manufacturing Engineering and bachelor of Engineering in Textile Engineering for the Malawi Institute of Technology. The Ndata School of Climate and earth Sciences is working on curriculum for their new program called Bachelor of Science in Oil and Gases while the Bingu School of Culture and Heritage is working on a Bachelor of Arts in African Musicology program. The other two programs are from the Academy of Medical Sciences which is introducing a Bachelor of Science in Immunology and Virology and another, a Bachelor of Science in Diagnostics and Imaging," said MUST Deputy University Registrar Martha Sambani, who is also responsible for academic affairs.
Briefing the participants on the guidelines for the exercise, Deputy Vice Chancellor Professor Jonathan Makuwira urged the specialists to take the activity seriously because it is through the curriculum that an academic program responds to the society's needs.
"Universities are currently under the spotlight because some of our graduates have been found wanting by the industry. So let us strive for connect between the knowledge and skills the program will impart and what the industry needs. People out there have high expectations and we need to be competitive both locally and globally and this can only be achieved through the curriculum we develop," said Professor Makuwira.
He said it was pleasing that executive deans of school had already come up with draft curricula and the meeting will just review, critique and refine the documents.
As such, he urged the specialists to be open minded and offer constructive suggestions.
Professor Makuwira also urged the specialists to ensure that the curriculum also articulates emerging and cross-cutting issues such as disability, gender and HIV and AIDS.
Among others, the teams will have to look at rationale for the programs, their aims, intended learning outcomes and teaching and learning methods, and program load.
Already existing programs at MUST are as follows: Bachelor of Engineering in Biomedical Engineering; Bachelor of Engineering in Metallurgy and Materials Engineering; Bachelor of Engineering in Chemical Engineering; Bachelor of Science in Business Information Technology, Bachelor of Science in Computer Systems and Security; Bachelor of Science in Earth Science (Geology); Bachelor of Science in Meteorology and Climate Science; Bachelor of Science in Disaster Risk Management, Bachelor of Science in Geo-Information and Earth Observation Science; Bachelor of Science in Water Quality and Management; Bachelor of Science in Sustainable Energy Systems, Bachelor of Science in Medical Microbiology; Bachelor of Science in Sports Science, and Bachelor of Arts in Indigenous Knowledge Systems and Practice.