The University of Malawi (Unima) has installed President Lazarus Chakwera as its sixth Chancellor since its establishment in 1965 by the country’s founding president Hastings Kamuzu Banda.
Speaking yesterday during the installation at the Great Hall in Zomba, Unima acting vice-chancellor Professor Alfred Mtenje said the university was eager to benefit from Chakwera’s efforts, a Unima alumnus who went on to obtain a doctor of philosophy degree from the Pan African Theology Seminary in the United States of America.
He said under the current leadership, the university has no doubt that it will rise to higher levels and continue developing programmes that respond to the country’s needs.
Said Mtenje: “As an institution of excellence, we wish to state that Covid-19 has affected immensely our academic life and disturbed the university’s academic calendar. We are working hard to ensure the institution maintains its programmes.”
In his address, the President said the true measure of building capacity is the quality of citizens the education system produces, not the educational qualifications they hold.
He cited his qualification from Unima, saying although it was in arts, the rigours of study and disciplines he learnt during that time were of such high standard that he never doubted that he would flourish in multiple arenas of human enterprise, including those outside the domain of his field of study.
Said Chakwera: “The four years I spent at this college were instrumental in shaping my worldview, not only because of the quality of education I received, but also because of the quality of young men and women who were sent here.
“Therefore, I challenge the Council of this university to return this institution to its founding v ision of producing graduates who have quality, not just qualifications.”
The President further said Malawi needs graduates who produce tangible results in development and not those who engage in an endless paralysis of analysis regarding what is wrong with Malawi and whose fault it is.
“Anyone can point fingers at a problem, but it takes a truly educated person to design and effect a solution,” he said.
Chakwera challenged that the country must return to the formula of being a nation that builds and makes things of value, things that last and things that other nations desire.
“It would be a tragedy for us to reach this point of self-actualisation as a nation, only to sustain a culture of consumption and entitlement instead of one of productivity and service. I challenge those of you graduating today to regard yourselves as job creators, not job seekers,” he said.
In reaction, Kamuzu College of Nursing (KCN) bachelor of science in child health nursing graduate Lonjezo Justice Phiri said the graduates need start-up capital if they are to maximise their knowledge into action.
“For instance, we can create pharmacies, drug stores and even clinics where we can provide employment to others. But this requires capital,” he said.
Unima Council chairperson Professor Jack Wirima asked for more funding to enable the institution to fulfil its mandate of offering quality education.
During yesterday’s graduation, 461 graduands from Unima constituent colleges of KCN, The Polytechnic, College of Medicine and Chancellor College were awarded certificates, diplomas and degrees