By Franklin Mchombo
The Malawi University of Science and Technology (MUST) on November 6, 2023, welcomed its first year ODeL students (Cohort 3) through the opening of a weeklong orientation where they were assured of quality education despite mostly studying through online platforms.
Welcoming the students, Dean of Students’ Affars Dr Kondwani Mkandawire relayed management’s commitment to offer the new students nothing but the best.
“You will be learning the same things the generic students are learning, taught by the same lecturers, using the same state of the art facilities and following the same assessments rules and regulations with the university applying the same quality assurance mechanisms,” said Dr Mkandawire.
Among others, during this orientation week, the new students will be taken through the critical areas of their study so that they are familiar with the expectations placed on their shoulders.
“We want you to understand the campus and its facilities for your easy usage. We also want you to know the facilities available for your studies so that when you are away at your base, with no one nearby to ask, you should be able to do things on your own,” said Dr Mkandawire.
He urged the students to establish networks among themselves so that they can push each other when the going gets tough.
“The collaboration is also good in other university related activities such as sports, entertainment and bereavements. Just make sure that any groupings you establish are formalized by alerting our office for guidance,” he said.
“The coming in of Cohort 3 for the ODeL symbolizes that the ODeL is growing so fast, and as an institution, we are so happy. As MUST, we will offer the same quality services to all our students irrespective of their mode of learning. We don’t want to create a gap between our students and this is why you are equally entitled to the same facilities and services such as medical scheme, hostel rooms, and free WiFi that the university is offering to generic students.”
The students were also briefed on career opportunities for their various programmes of study while highlighting the importance of innovation and entrepreneurship to ensure that they use their skills and knowledge to establish businesses and create employment.
One of the students, Memory Ndeule who has been selected to do Bachelor of Science in Sciences Education, described the orientation programme as an eye opener and game changer.
“I am so happy to be here at MUST. The environment is so conducive to learning. I believe that I will have the best education ever. The atmosphere is amazing. Even the discipline among students is at another level. The lecturers look very committed and dedicated to duty. I have never seen this in my academic life. Everything is set for us to succeed,” she said.
Ndeule also applauded MUST for ensuring that students under ODeL get the highest quality education just like the other generic students.
“During the orientation, I noted that everything was well organized. For example, they told us that the orientation programme would start at 8:30am and all the staff came here before that time. That has given me motivation as it shows how serious the university is,” she added.
The cohort 3 has 186 students who have been enrolled in three programmes of Bachelor of Science in Sciences Education, Bachelor of Science in Mathematics Sciences, and Bachelor of Arts in Language, Communication and Culture.