Blantyre International University (BIU) was established in 2008 to provide high quality university education for this century. This is predicated on its belief that education must be life-long – that education is not a spatial monopoly of something called the school and college; not a time-bound learning experience; there is no such thing as childhood education, adolescent education, youth education, or adult education. There is just education which is a way of life, a life-long way of life. Every year, every month, everyday, a person will be learning, open to learning and must be given the opportunity to learn in the home, school, university, factory, farm, hospital, office, co-operative, church, trade union, political party, cinema and club, etc. Education must be open.
In this regard, BIU believes in the need for the re-orientation and vitalisation of education with a view to preparing the young for the modern times that we live in, as a result of the following demands:
- There will be large changes in job categories, with possible fifty per cent of job categories changing in one generation.
- Skills need to be renewed at the rate of approximately fifty per cent every three to five years.
- Technology will require increased multiple thinking.
The implication of these demands is that education for the workplace of this century needs to be broadly based. While the importance of academic and vocational capacities is well known, this is not true of the enterprise capability. The enterprise capability includes skills of thinking, planning, communicating, organising, problem solving, monitoring and assessing. This demands a change in the way learning is achieved. It is also recognised that the most successful worker in the modern changed time and age would be the person who has the most balanced personal development, and who is open to new ideas and opportunities. Therefore, workforce education programmes have to be conceived broadly. BIU, therefore, puts great emphasis on the following philosophy of education for the modern age that we live in:
- A new view of knowledge.
- A greater integration of knowledge.
- A renewed commitment to life-long learning.
- A commitment to the goal that education must be for all and not just for some.
- A commitment to learning how to learn and to develop a love for learning in order to provide the basic building blocks for life-long learning, involving the development of the ability to critically assess one’s learning.
- A third “passport: of learning, namely, the enterprise passport, which involves nourishing the capabilities of thinking, planning, cooperating, communicating, organising, solving problems, monitoring and assessing.
- An emphasis on personal development, self awareness, esteem and confidence, in order to deal with a rapidly changing world.
- A commitment to promoting inter-personal development supporting the ability of young people to develop relationships with others.
- A commitment to cooperative globalism, a commitment to ‘care for all.’
The Role of Blantyre International University
In line with the above philosophy, BIU holds the view that the university system has important responsibilities to society as a whole and to the educational system itself. The significance of the traditional functions of acquisition, preservation, dissemination and extension of the frontier of knowledge, the balanced education of individuals and the training of high level personnel for all walks of life is obvious. But a modern university, especially in a developing country like Malawi, has to undertake several other functions as well. It must, for instance:
- Inculcate and promote basic human values and the capacity to choose between alternative value systems;
- Preserve and foster one’s great cultural traditions and blend them with essential elements from other cultures and peoples to develop a vibrant culture;
- Promote a rational outlook and scientific temper;
- Promote the development of the total personality of the students and inculcate in them a commitment to society through involvement in community service;
- Act as an objective critic of society and assist in the formulation of national objectives and programmes for their realisation;
- Promote commitment to the pursuit of excellence; and, above all
- Contribute to the improvement of the entire educational system so as to serve the community.
BIU also believes that university education should aim at the following:
- To teach that life has a meaning.
- To awaken the innate ability to live the life of soul by developing wisdom.
- To train for self-development.
- To develop certain values like fearlessness of mind, strength of conscience and integrity of purpose.
- To acquaint with cultural heritage for its regeneration.
- To enable to know that education is a life-long process.
- To develop understanding of the present as well as of the past.
- To provide education that is relevant to business and industry needs.
- To impart vocational and professional training.
- To prepare students to be wealth and job creators rather than mere job seekers.
- Responsiveness to Emerging Needs
BIU Vision is “To be a world class university of academic excellence.”
BIU’s mission is “To provide world class broad based educational programmes that promote inquiry, mastery and application of knowledge, concepts and skills while fostering ethical responsibility.”
Modes of Study
Since BIU subscribes to the view that education must be life-long, especially in this 21st century, BIU, therefore, offers both full time and distance learning so that its academic programmes can be accessed by as many people as possible, including those that are already in employment or business.
There are a lot of advantages deriving from distance education, which include the following:
- It is a very flexible educational system which is not limited by time and place restrictions.
- Under this system, a learner can progress at his own speed.
- It fulfils the needs of various categories of persons who are unable to make use of the formal system of education.
- It leads to self-learning.
- It can reach remote areas through postal service or radio or TV.
- Learners can take advantage of the lectures of the most efficient teachers which is not always possible in all conventional educational institutions.
- Distance education makes higher education accessible to all sections of society.
- In-service personnel, housewives, persons with disabilities, underprivileged people, people residing in remote areas, school drop outs, etc., can all avail of the courses offered.
- The inherent flexibility of distance education system is conducive to a greater variety of subjects of study.
- The likely higher quality of the self-instructional package produced by multidisciplinary team of experts for use in distance education enhances the learning experience of distance students.
- The number of students in an open university system may be unlimited.
BIU offers distance education in order to meet the following needs and objectives:
- To provide educational facilities to those who cannot benefit from the formal system of education.
- To help socio-economically poor students receive education.
- To make the educational institution go to the students, rather than the students coming to the university.
- To provide opportunities to the educated citizens to study further while remaining at the places of their work.
- To provide less expensive education.
- To ease the problem of financial constraints on the part of the government to start new educational institutions.
Distance education or home study is a well tried and tested technique. Experience of distance education in other countries of the world, such as the USA, Sweden, Russia, Japan and Australia where it has been used extensively for a long time gives inspiration for fuller exploration of the method for a wide range of purposes. There is hardly any ground for apprehension that distance education courses are an inferior form of education than what is given on a full-time basis.
QUALITY AND STANDARDS: NATIONAL COUNCIL FOR HIGHER EDUCATION (NCHE)
BIU is a fully accredited university by the Government of Malawi as an institution of higher learning. It was given this status on 1st June, 2010.
Maintaining high academic standards is central to BIU’s vision. The University, therefore, complies with the academic standards set by the Malawi Government’s National Council for Higher Education. These standards are the same for all our degree programmes —whether delivered on campus face-to- face or through distance learning. Only by maintaining the standards set by the National Council for Higher Education can the University keep its status as an institution of higher learning.