ADDRESS BY THE VICE-CHANCELLOR OF THE UNIVERSITY OF MALAWI, PROF JOHN D. KALENGA SAKA, DURING GRADUATION CEREMONY HELD ON WEDNESDAY, 26TH JULY, 2017 IN THE GREAT HALL, CHANCELLOR COLLEGE, ZOMBA
26 July, 2017
- The Chairman of the University of Malawi Council, Professor James Maida, and all Members of Council;
- Secretary to the Ministry of Education, Science and Technology, Dr Ken Ndala;
- Honourable Cabinet and Deputy Ministers if present;
- Chairpersons of all Public Universities if present;
- Prof Al Mtenje, Pro Vice-Chancellor, University of Malawi;
- The Acting Chief Executive Director, National Council for Higher Education;
- Vice-Chancellors and Representatives from other public and private universities;
- The University Registrar, and Principals;
- Professors, Deans, Heads of Department and all Staff of the University of Malawi;
- Honourable Patricia Nangozo Kainga, Member of Parliament for Zomba Central Constituency;
- The Mayor, Councillor Meria Douglas, Zomba City Council;
- Mr. Dyson Jangia, Chief Executive Officer, Zomba City Council;
- Mr. Bennet Nkasala, District Commissioner, Zomba District;
- The President and members of the University of Malawi Students Union;
- Distinguished invited Guests;
- Distinguished Graduands;
- Ladies and Gentlemen.
Today, I am very equally delighted and honoured to stand before you and make some remarks on this great and auspicious occasion. Firstly, I would like to express my sincere gratitude to His Excellency, Prof Arthur Peter Mutharika, President of the Republic of Malawi and Chancellor of the University of Malawi for asking me to preside over this Congregation. It is therefore a great and singular honour to represent His Excellency, the Chancellor. Let me also join the Chairman in welcoming the Secretary to Education, who is representing Honourable Minister. Please share our heartfelt gratitude to His Excellency and the Chancellor for your being with us in this celebration. Further, I wish to welcome all invited guests, feel free and enjoy the celebrations with the graduands, their families and the larger University Community.
Ladies and Gentlemen
I would like to share some achievements with the Audience and the Society as the University proactively implemented the UNIMA Strategic Plan (2012-2017) and a successor is in the offing:
- The University of Malawi Students Union has a 5-year Strategic Plan, ready for operationalization;
- Gender Policy is ready for consideration by Council at its next Meeting
- The Open and Distance Learning (ODL) Policy awaits validation internally and with stakeholders. This has been partly funded by the Commonwealth of Learning (COL), Canada. Professor Richard Siaciwena of the Open University of Zambia facilitated the first workshop, and
- Strategic Policies such as Intellectual Property Rights and Internationalisation await internal validation
- Improvements in quality assurance systems including postgraduate and research administration;
- Auburn University of the USA has supported the installation of 2 servers at Chancellor College to support e-learning module development across the public universities;
- College of Medicine has a useful presence of international students; aggressive marketing is being further pursued;
- More staff after PhD studies are returning;
- Acquisition of land and property for Polytechnic Continuing Education Centre in Mzuzu to expand access to higher education;
- The Raphael Tenthani Centre for Media Excellence will facilitate quality of teaching and learning in journalism and media studies- DFID supported, and
- Introduction of new and demand driven academic programmes including specialized degrees in Science and Education Science, engineering diplomas, tourism management, actuarial science, under the Higher Education Science and Technology (HEST) Project, Masters Programme in Applied Ethics, and BSc in Palliative Care (Hons).
- The College of Medicine World Bank African Centre of Excellence for Public Health and Herbal Medicine Research operationalized on 3rd December, 2016 and several partnerships with regional and international universities have been signed;
- NORHED projects across the University (at Chancellor, Medicine and Nursing);
- WASHTED and CSR for playing required leadership roles, the former recently launched its 5-yar Strategic Plan (2017-2022);
- Increased internationally accepted publications (papers, book chapters and books). There have been 2 NORHED project books from Chancellor College and Professor Al Mtenje: an attribute of academic leadership and excellence;
- Centre of Excellence on Ethics being finalized for Council’s consideration, and
- A search engine developed by a Physics Team including our Alumnus, Mr Chisomo Daka.
- Old Mutual, FDH Bank and NICO Life are supporting the establishment of Endowment Chairs (Actuarial Sciences) and VC’s scholarship and Merit Awards;
- Professorial Inaugural Lectures; more are expected in this half of 2017/18;
- The University of Malawi and the Lilongwe University of Agriculture and Natural Resources (LUANAR) with technical support from the Millennium Institute of the United States of America have developed of a T21-based model for Integrated Sustainable Development Goals. This will allow Malawi assess the extent to which it is achieving the 17 SDGs. Through this effort, students will have practical experience related to current development environment. UNDP funded this venture;
- Chancellor College and The Polytechnic have radio and or TV stations for enhancing students’ experience and engaging the society on matters of the Academy;
- Strengthened and beneficial relation with the Confucius Institute funded by the Chinese Government;
- University of Malawi website near completion and will soon increase our visibility and showing what we are and do; our Flag and Anthem will be seen, and
- Staff-students engagement with regional universities in sports and athletics.
- MK1 billion towards teaching and learning environment; we will soon invite the Hon Minister to have a tour of developments and rehabilitation work;
- UNIMA TRUST being operationalized towards resource diversification of financial bases given nearly 90% of subvention is now going into personal emoluments, and
- Continued commitment to resource use efficiency and accountability.
This is the fourth graduation ceremony for the 2015/16 academic year and hence we all join in rejoicing and celebrating the graduation of 587 graduands including 268 females (representing 45.7%), who will receive various postgraduate diplomas and degrees; the total delivered is now 2486, in 2015/16 academic year. Congratulations to the Graduands for a job well-done.
Graduands as you join the world play your roles with diligence, commitment, patriotism, integrity and professionalism. Reflect on the quote from the lecture by His Excellency Prof Peter Arthur Mutharika President of the Republic of Malawi and Chancellor delivered on 10th June, 2017 at the Oxford Union. He said: ‘‘First, we need an education that goes beyond the classroom. We need an education whose objective is not simply to qualify and certify individuals. It must be an education that aims at building capabilities in the people. We must aim at empowering the people with skills.’’
We trust that we have given you that type of education and therefore you will be useful and relevant to your beloved and dear families and also the larger Malawi community. More importantly be entrepreneurial in your conduct of personal growth.
Let me now conclude by thanking
- UNIMA Council for its foresight and catalytic leadership;
- Parents, guardians and spouses of our graduands, for their unfailing support, without them most of the graduands would not have made it. Well done, parents, spouses and guardians.
- All partners for providing both financial and technical support towards quality and relevant education in this great University. Important examples include Global Aids Interfaith Alliance, Elma Foundation, USAID World Learning, Tertiary Education Scholarship Trust, Christian Health Association of Malawi, Bill and Melinda Gates, Ntchima Trust, SOKO Fund, National Bank of Malawi, ESCOM, Total Malawi, Dosani Trust, First Merchant Bank of Malawi, the Alumni Community and individuals such as all of us.
- All staff for the hard work and hence our celebrating today: You have attested with pride what Nelson Mandela said: ‘‘Everyone can rise above their circumstances and achieve success if they are dedicated to and passionate about what they do’’, and
- The University Registrar and his team for a very well organized congregation, the Choir, the Band, the Media and the public ululation which is always wonderful and pleasant.
I THANK YOU ALL FOR YOUR ATTENTION, ENJOY THE FUNCTION.
MAY GOD BLESS US ALL