Education Scholars discuss national development
Speaking during the opening ceremony, the Vice Principal of Chancellor College, Prof. Samson Sajidu, welcomed all the participants to the campus and expressed the wish that the papers would extend their relevance beyond academic circles. The conference comes at a time when the word development is found in various discourses at national and continental levels. For this reason, the various scholars who attended the conference presented papers that touched on the roles that the education sector plays in the development of a nation and of the continent.
The first keynote speech was delivered by Professor Fred Msiska, a former Dean of Education at Chancellor College, and currently a Professor of Education at Mzuzu University. In his speech, Prof Msiska raised a number of provocative questions, commencing with discussing the recently released World Bank Report on Higher Education in Malawi. Commenting on the matter of higher education in Malawi, Prof Msiska observed that the tendency has been to focus on access to education, as opposed to quality of education. He noted that, in recent years, the Malawi government has endeavored to ensure that all citizens access education. However, this has been at the expense of quality. “We need to focus on educating the mind,” stressed the Prof. “We must be creating graduates with prospective reasoning, who can adapt to changing circumstances in their world.”
The second keynote speaker, Professor Yusef Waghid (Stellenbosch University) could not make it to the conference. However, he sent in his paper, which was read by Dr Joseph Divala.
Over two days, participants, who came from the UK, USA, South Africa, Scotland, Botswana, Mozambique, and Malawi presented on different papers. Among the issues discussed were inclusive education, technology in education, assessment, adult education, and early childhood development.
On Wednesday, 27th July, after a grueling two days of intense discourse, the participants were taken to Liwonde National Park, where they had a chance to appreciate the natural beauty that Malawi has to offer.
Regarding future plans for this international education conference, the Faculty of Education looks forward to making it as an annual event. This is expected to position the Faculty of Education and Chancellor College as a thought leader contributing to education development of the country and beyond.