President Lazarus Chakwera has noted that ever since former president Bakili Muluzi launched the mission of Mzuzu University in 1999, the institution has set the pace in embracing “progressive change.”
Chakwera said this when he presided over the graduation ceremony at Mzuzu University (Mzuni) which was held virtually.
He said it’s been 24 years since Mzuni was established by an Act of Parliament and 22 years since it was operationalized and it was the first time that a commencement ceremony for this institution is being done virtually, a testament to the changing times.
During the occasion, Chakwera was installed Mzuzu University Chancellor. He becomes the fifth chancellor after Bakili Muluzi, late Bingu wa Mutharika, Joyce Banda and Peter Mutharika.
“Not only have the last two decades confronted this university with the need to adapt to changes in technological advancement and educational methods. But the last two months have demanded adapting to seismic changes occasioned by a global pandemic that has claimed the lives of two of your senior academics. My sincerest condolence on this loss and may their souls rest in peace,” said Chakwera.
The President applauded Mzuni management that they have not allowed tragedy to break their resolve to stay true to their purpose, which is to advance knowledge and to promote wisdom.
“You have not succumbed to that paralysing form of fear that would deter you from living out the three values of your motto, namely self-reliance, service, and perfection,” said Chakwera.
In his speech, the President said without embracing progressive change, Mzuni would not have remained a place for quality and relevant education and training.
“Without embracing progressive change, this university would not have been a place for research and innovation. Without embracing progressive change, this university would not have been a place that provides community services.
“Without embracing progressive change, this university would not have been a place for international engagement. Without embracing change, this university would forever be looking backwards to solve the problems of yesterday, instead of peering into the future we want and providing the human capital needed to create it.,” he said.
Chakwera said his administration has already provided MK1.3 billion (out of MK7.6 billion) for the construction of the library and auditorium in the 2020/21 Year; MK200 million in 2020/21 Budget for furniture and equipment for the Faculty of Tourism, Hospitality and Management Skills Application Centre; and another MK200 million towards the procurement of scientific equipment for the Departments of Biological Sciences, Biomedical Science and Chemistry.
“These are not handouts to be squandered on consumption, but seeds to be invested for tomorrow,” he said.
President Chakwera challenged Mzuni to explore alternative sources of financing instead of banking on government subvention.
“Even so, it would be a tragic mistake for either the students or governors or faculty of this university to make government their only source of funding, for not only is that unsustainable, but it is also counter to your own value of self-reliance. For that reason, I fully expect that you will regard public funding as a contingency, and to pursue other means of resource mobilization as a matter of priority,”said Chakwera.
In practice, the President said, this may mean engaging the Public-Private Partnership (PPP) Commission on a framework for constructing hostels for students.
“It may also mean engaging the National Planning Commission in an active partnership towards the implementation of Malawi Vision 2063. It may also mean working with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs to give Malawians in the diaspora opportunities for financing and expanding this institution.
“ It may also mean revitalizing the Mzuni Trust Fund to give the university greater returns from its revenue generation ventures,” he advised.
Mzuni Vice-Chancellor Professor John Kalenga Saka also welcomed Chakwera’s call, saying it is a good policy the university can implement alongside the existing initiatives.
About 1186 students graduated, some of them receiving postgraduate degrees.Follow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :