COVID-19 Case Study: Malawian Higher Education and Local Solutions in Crisis Response
Higher education institutions closed their physical campuses in late March 2020 in response to the COVID-19 virus. Many institutions were not equipped to deliver classes virtually. Students no longer residing on campus faced challenges accessing learning materials due to inaccessible or unreliable Internet connections. Higher education institutions faced financial difficulties stemming from unpaid student fees and a loss of revenue from teaching, learning, research, community outreach, and publication activities.
Despite these challenges, several higher education institutions in Malawi demonstrated their critical role in addressing the pandemic by advancing research and innovation. Notably, USAID partner Malawi University of Science and Technology (MUST) embraced this role, developing innovative solutions. This case study underscores the importance of partnerships during crises in expanding capacity for research and innovation within higher education institutions and outlines the broad societal benefits of this increased capacity.