UNDP encourages public universities to demonstrate relevance
The United Nations Development Program (UNDP) has advised public universities to demonstrate their importance in Malawi's economic development.
Malawi: The United Nations Development Program (UNDP) has advised public universities to demonstrate their importance in Malawi's economic development, writes Priscilla Phiri, MANA.
The UNDP-funded MUBAS Innovation Pod Project aims to transform public universities into spaces of learning, prototyping, and innovation for national strategic goals.
Shigeki Komatsubara, Country Representative for UNDP, described universities as public assets for Malawi and beyond during a stakeholder meeting for the MUBAS Innovation Pod Project on Friday.
“Universities have proved their value in the academia and they continue to make differences in the country, people always feel the positive impact of supporting universities even in the hardest economic conditions,” said Komatsubara.
He also stated that universities around the world are shifting their reliance on government funding away from the private sector.
“Universities now apply the results of their academic research to concrete improvement and innovations and in so doing mobilise resources from private sectors. Companies are happy to invest in universities because they make difference in people’s lives and support the competitiveness of the private sectors” he said.
Komatsubara went on to say that it is the responsibility of local public universities to demonstrate relevance and contribute to Malawi's development.
“UNDP is investing its resources to Universities in Malawi with the hope that we continue to grow academically but also demonstrating your relevance for the people of Malawi by applying studies to concrete and practical solutions to improve lives,” he said.
He also praised public universities for their research and prototyping facilities, as well as their efforts to produce Personal Protective Equipment (PPEs) using local resources in the midst of the Covid 19 pandemic.
Nancy Chitera, Vice Chancellor of MUBAS, was also present at the meeting and praised the UNDP for funding the Innovation Pod Project, which will create opportunities for and by youths.
“Let me assure you that through these projects we will solve challenges the nation has been facing and hence moving towards the creation of a self-reliant nation as we create jobs for youths,” she said.
She also stated that the project's design studio and innovation lab have already produced a number of innovations dating back to 2017.