Two Malawian Scholars win Scottish university awards

A pair of outstanding Malawian scholars has won prestigious awards to pursue post-graduate studies  at a top-notch distinctive Scottish university in the United Kingdom.

According to Glasgow Caledonian University’s international Communications officer for the Directorate of External and Community relations Lynn McGarry, this is the first time a Scottish university and housing association have teamed up to offer scholarships to the country’s students.

McGarry said in an interview that GCU and NG homes signed a unique agreement with the High Commissioner of Malawi to the United Kingdom to support the scholarships last August.

Pictured from left Professor James Sommerville, Sabron Kalyolyo and Grace Sukasuka, Tony Kilpatrick GCU's Head of the Department of Construction and Surveying, and, of course, Lecturer Malawi Ngwira.

Pictured from left Professor James Sommerville, Sabron Kalyolyo and Grace Sukasuka, Tony Kilpatrick GCU’s Head of the Department of Construction and Surveying, and, of course, Lecturer Malawi Ngwira.

“It is the first time a university and a UK housing association have teamed up to offer sponsorship to the country’s students,” said McGarry.

GCU is a signatory to the United Nations PRME initiative (Principles for Responsible Management Education) and is the first Scottish university to join the UN Global Compact, the world’s largest voluntary corporate responsible management initiative.

Coincidentally, The University has a Malawian member of teaching staff, Malawi Ngwira, a quantity surveyor of international repute, who works as a senior lecturer.

GCU’s Department of Construction and Surveying’s Professor James Sommerville said: “We are pleased to welcome Sabron and Grace to the GCU community and to further demonstrate our commitment to help Malawi build capacity.”

Malawi’s High Commissioner to the United Kingdom, Bernard Sande thanked both the university and NG Homes, a UK housing association for the scholarships saying Malawi needs skilled people to develop.

“Thank you, once again, to Glasgow Caledonian University and NG Homes. I wish the students the very best.  I know they will work hard, knowing how their country needs the knowledge and skills that they will acquire at the university,” said Sande.

Chief Executive Officer of NG homes, Robert Tamburrini said his organisation is happy: “We are delighted to welcome Grace and Sabron to Glasgow.  When GCU asked if we would support their scholarships we were happy to help by providing accommodation.  I am sure they will both find Glasgow a great place to live and learn.”

The duo, Sabron Kalyolyo and Grace Sukasuka have begun their further studies at one of the UK’s distinguished higher learning institution, the award-winning Glasgow Caledonian University (GCU) supported by a scholarship awarded by the university and a Scottish social housing association.

Kalyolyo, a graduate quantity surveyor at the Buildings Department, Ministry of Lands and Housing, based in Malawi’s capital, Lilongwe, is studying an Master of Science (MSc) International Project Management at GCU while Sukasuka, an assistant lecturer in the Department of Quantity Surveying at The Polytechnic, University of Malawi, who lives in Malawi’s commercial city, Blantyre, is studying Master of Science (MSc) Quantity Surveying.

“This is a fantastic opportunity. The knowledge we will gain at GCU will go a long way to further developing my own institution and Malawi as a whole,” said Kalyolyo.

On her part, Sukasuka said she is so grateful to both the Malawi and the Scottish governments for according her the opportunity.

She said: “We would like to thank everyone, both in Malawi and here in Glasgow, who have contributed to offering us this opportunity.”

Ivy Luhanga, former Principal Secretary for Lands and Housing said the Malawi government is so grateful for the scholarships because the ‘skills acquired will go along way helping building capacity to Malawi’s social economic development.’

“The Ministry of Lands and Housing is very grateful to GCU and NG homes for the scholarships awarded to Sabron (Kalyolyo) and Grace (Sukasuka) which will go a long way to build capacity in our respective technical departments that are key to the country’s socio-economic development,” said Luhanga.

She added: “Helping them settle is another kind gesture that cannot be taken for granted. GCU and NG homes have made them feel at home. We look forward to further strengthening our relationship for the next five years and beyond.”

Professor Grant Kululanga, of The Polytechnic, University of Malawi said The Polytechnic, a constituent college of the University of Malawi, is delighted and welcomes the signing of the innovative agreement by GCU and city housing association NG homes with the High Commissioner of Malawi.

Said Kululanga: “This positive development provides a sign of hope for fast-tracking human capital development for our college. Such a paradigmatic partnership offers rich lessons for many to emulate.”

GCU Senior lecturer Malawi Ngwira told Nyasa Times in an interview with the partnership exemplifies the University’s motto for the Common Weal, for the Common Good – as the students will take back what they have learned at GCU to Malawi and help build its future.

“We are proud to be part of the partnership. As one of the world’s leading Universities we believe in capacity building and we believe that the skills that the two scholars will acquire at GCU will go a very long way in the development of their country,” said Ngwira.

The School of Engineering and Built Environment has worked on a series of projects including asset management, agriculture research, environmental and waste management in Malawi.

Glasgow Caledonian University is an international university delivering excellence, with an over-arching commitment to the common good.  With 17,000 students at its main Glasgow campus and outreach campuses in London, New York, Bangladesh and Oman, the University offers a dynamic environment for learning, teaching and applied research.

The University has particular applied research strengths in the fields of health and the environment and is rated among the top 10 in the UK for its allied health research and in the top 20 in research in the built and natural environment.

According to McGarry, 96% of GCU graduates are in employment or further study within six months of graduation and the university’s student volunteers work with more than 7000 children and 2400 parents through the award-winning Caledonian Club in Glasgow to help improve access to higher education.

A similar scheme operates at GCU London and will be introduced in New York.

“We are so pleased to be working in partnership with the Malawi High Commission in London, and we look forward to working with more Malawians,” said McGarry.

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