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The Malawi Polytechnic is one of the constituent colleges of the University of Malawi (UNIMA). University of Malawi has been in existence since 1965 and is a federal university currently with four constituent colleges: Chancellor College, Kamuzu College of Nursing, College of Medicine and Malawi Polytechnic. The Polytechnic has five faculties, five centres and fifteen departments. The faculties are: Applied Sciences, Built Environment, Commerce, Engineering and Education and Media Studies.
The Polytechnic has fifteen departments offering undergraduate degrees in the following disciplines: accounting; business administration; management; civil, mechanical, mining and electrical engineering; architecture and land management; environmental management; computing and information technology; journalism; language and communication; mathematics and statistics; physics and biochemical sciences; technical and vocational education and quantity surveying. The multidisciplinary nature of the college puts the Polytechnic in a unique position to meet the multifaceted industries and developmental needs of the society at large.
The Department of Technical Education is in the Faculty of Education and Media Studies, it was established in September 1981 to offer technical education teacher training programmes to prospective teachers. Before it was fully established, the department has been training secondary school technical teachers since the college opened in 1965. The need for more science teachers in the 80’s prompted the upgrading of the 3-year Diploma in Technical Education programme to a 5 year Bachelor of Science in Technical Education Degree programme. When there was an adequate supply of technical teachers in the schools, the programme was to be discontinued but then the Southern Africa Development Conference came in with a five-year capacity development project funded by Overseas Development Administration (ODA) to train technical teachers for the SADC region. The curriculum was hence reviewed to answer to the needs of the region and the five-year programme was reduced to four years and those with Diplomas joining in the third year of the programme. Currently the programme has been reviewed again and it provides options for teacher trainees to major in technical subjects with mathematics and science as minors. The revised programme also provides routes for technical college instructors to major in the specialist trades offered in the technical colleges such as automobile engineering, general fitting, electrical installation, carpentry and joinery and welding and fabrication. The programmes in this department provide opportunities for vocational and entrepreneurial skills development needed for industrial development and exports diversification through mining, manufacturing and agro-processing as stipulated in Malawi’s economic reform plans. The department has a wide range of stakeholders which includes: Ministry of Labour and Manpower Development, Ministry of Education, Industry and communities.
Since the development of undergraduate programmes in Technical and Vocational teacher training programmes, the department has grown and is now offering Postgraduate programmes in the same discipline.