Turmoil in Malawi Higher Education

A group of scholars from Malawi has petitioned the government of the African nation to institute meaningful reforms to the country’s higher education system. The scholars, some of whom are teaching abroad, object to government interference in the operation of the nation’s universities. The group accuses the government of using political pressure to have faculty fired, freezing academic salaries, and endorsing the planting of police informants in classes of professors who oppose the government. The group states the government tries to influence appointments and curriculum on the country’s university campuses and attempts to stifle political dissent.

Among the leaders of the opposition group are Malawi professors Sam Mchombo, who currently teaches linguistics at Berkeley and Lupenga Mphande, an associate professor and director of the African languages program at Ohio State University.