HRDC pens Education Minister on sex-for-grades at Mzuzu university

By Vincent Gunde

The Human Rights Defenders Coalition (HRDC) has called upon the university management and Ministry of Education to take immediate and decisive actions to address the issue of “Sex-for- grades” exploitation at Mzuzu university and other public and private universities.

The HRDC says addressing ‘SEX-FOR-GRADES” requires a collective effort from all members of the academic community, administrators, faculty, students and government officials to work together to create a culture of respect, equality, and integrity within universities.

Concerns over sex for grades on Universities

The organization says the concern regarding the recent allegations of a Lecturer at Mzuzu university’s involvement in a “sex-for-grades syndicate is deeply troubling, highlighting a systemic issue that undermines the trust and integrity of the educational institutions in Malawi.

In a letter dated 7th April, 2024 addressed to the Minister of Education Madalitso Wirima-Kambauwa, the HRDC says the allegation has dented the image of the Chancellor, university community, and the entire Malawian society.

“The university management and the Ministry of Education needs to have a moral and legal obligation to address such “sex-for-grades” allegations swiftly and effectively,” reads the letter in part.

The HRDC says the safety and well-being of students, particularly girls and women, must be prioritized, and all necessary measures should be taken to ensure that they are protected from any form of exploitation or harassment.

And in a response to a story titled “Allegations of Sexually Transmitted Grades at Mzuzu university- Graduate accuses Lecturer of demanding sex for academic favor” published by Malawi 24 dated 8th April, 2024 Mzuzu university has assured all that it will collaborate with all stakeholders to root out the vices that undermine credibility of higher education delivery.

The Mzuzu university says it has in place a Fraud and Corruption Prevention policy which has established the Institutional Integrity Committee (IIC) in collaboration with the Anti-Corruption Bureau (ACB)to be dealing with such issues.

“It is regrettable to note that while the article claims to have contacted the Assistant Registrar (Public Relations and International Affairs) to get Mzuni’s side of the story, such an effort was not made to give Mzuni a fair presentation of such issues considering the seriousness of the alleged practice,” reads part of Mzuni’s statement.