JB is MZUNI Chancellor, for more space in Malawi universities

The People’s Party (PP) led government aims to increase the number of student intake by expanding teaching space and accommodation at existing campuses, President Joyce Banda has disclosed.

The Head of State made the remarks when she presided over the Mzuzu University (MZUNI) 14th Congregation where over 400 students graduated in various fields including education, security services, environmental sciences, health sciences, information sciences and communication and tourism and hospitality management.

She reiterated that her administration attaches great importance to education, as it realizes that education, science and technology are catalysts for the socio-economic development of the country.

President Mrs Joyce Banda officially assuming the office of Mzuzu University Chancellor

“This is confirmed by the Budget allocation of K74.7billion of the 2012/2013 Recurrent Budget to Education, representing 22% of the Total Budget,” she observed.

“While Government is implementing a phased programme of establishing new public universities, it is taking steps to consolidate the already established ones; University of Malawi and Mzuzu University,” she said.

“Once again, Mzuzu University is adding about 400 to the pool of new graduates who have been trained to fill various vacancies across the breadth of many in the country and eventually this will contribute development and creation of wealth.

“I wish to offer my heartfelt congratulations to all the new graduates for a job well-done. The road may have been hard but you have made it. You deserve congratulations from all of us gathered here today,” said President Banda.

She advised the graduates that a new journey for them had began today and she was confident that with determination and the will to learn new ideas and ways of doing business, they would succeed.

President Joyce Banda said the number of academic degrees that one holds does not really matter but what the holders are able to achieve on account of their acquired education.

The Head of State expressed delight “to come to Mzuzu University for the first time to be installed as Chancellor of the University” and to preside over the Graduation Ceremony, describing it “an auspicious occasion for the country and for higher education in Malawi”.

But Banda said when one examines the budgets allocated to Mzuzu University and the demands made on its resources, it is obvious that financial resources are far inadequate to provide for high quality learning.

“Therefore, my Government will endeavour to make a meaningful contribution to higher education by attracting more funding. However, it is the hope of my Government that the private sector will also get more involved in funding higher education to accelerate the country’s development.

“I believe that higher education is a worthwhile investment as it has multiplier effects which are felt across all sectors of the economy,” she said.

President Banda noted that even with limited resources, the Mzuzu University Council and Management of the University was increasing intake and improving quality.

She also noted that what is most pleasing to learn is that the African Development Bank will soon be providing financial resources to expand facilities for Information and Communications Technology, Library and Learning Resources, Open and Distance Learning and a Business Centre.

“On a more positive note, Mzuzu University continues to offer a variety of programmes, which the country needs to implement its development agenda and largely complements the sister public universities and soon to be launched Lilongwe University of Agriculture and Natural Resources and Malawi University of Science and Technology.

“For instance, Mzuzu University offers programmes addressing Renewable Energy Technologies, Hospitality and Tourism, Optometry, Biomedical Sciences, and Security Studies; which are not offered anywhere else in Malawi,” the Chancellor said, adding that she was also happy to learn that the Nursing and Midwifery programme at Mzuzu University was forging ahead despite many challenges.

The Chancellor said being the first four-year nursing programme in Malawi that is able to combine general nursing and midwifery in that given space of time, it offers hope for the Maternal Health and Safe Motherhood Programme because the graduate nurse and midwife is able to go straight into practice with full midwifery skills.

“You may recall that Safe Motherhood is an innovation which we initiated here in Malawi and for which we have won international accolades including recent recognition by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation,” she said.

The Chairman of the MZUNI Council Professor Brown Chimphamba said the entire university community was delighted to be associated with the new Chancellor, saying her achievements over the past years resonate well with the objectives and aspirations of the institution.

He cited the Hunger Project Africa Prize for Leadership for the Sustainable End of Hunger; International Award for entrepreneurship development by the Africa Federation of Woman Entrepreneurs and ECA in Addis-Ababa, Ethiopia; and the Woman of Substance Award by African Women Development Fund (2010) as some of President’s Banda’s enviable achievements.

Graduating Bachelor of Science (Nursing and Midwifery) students making a pledge of service.- Photo by by Trouble Ziba/Mana
One of the outstanding graduands poses with Mzuzu University Chancellor Prsident Mrs Joyce Banda.- Photo by by Trouble Ziba/Mana
A cross section of the 14th Congregation of Mzuzu University.- Photo by by Trouble Ziba/Mana
President Mrs Joyce Banda officially assuming the office of Mzuzu University Chancellor.- Photo by by Trouble Ziba/Mana
Mzuni Chancellor, Her Excellency President Banda arriving at the institution for the graduation. Photo Living Kalimanjira

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