MZUZU—Four hundred students graduated from Mzuzu University Friday at a ceremony which also installed Pres Joyce Banda as the university’s chancellor.
Congratulating the new graduates, Pres Banda said she was confident they would be successful in their different endeavours but also cautioned them.
“It doesn’t matter how many degrees you get in life but what you do with that education,” she said.
Banda said her government would ensure that institutions like Mzuni have resources to provide the necessary training.
“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 said.
The president however confessed that these resources were inadequate to provide for high quality learning at Mzuzu University which for several years has experienced financial problems. Student protests to bring attention to the plight of the institution have so far not produced anything positive.
“When one examines the budget allocated to Mzuzu University and the demand made on its resources, it is obvious that the financial resources are…inadequate,” said Banda. “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.”
Mzuni Chaplin Joe Chipofya thanked “God for President Joyce Banda because she has managed to break the yoke of quota system which was a burden to most of us.”
Banda’s predecessor Bingu wa Mutharika introduced the quota system in the selectiong of students to the public universities. But the use of quotas – which disregarded merit for a certain number of slots - didn’t go down well with people especially from the northern region who argued that the system was designed to punish them.
While the president said the system aimed at ending disparities in institutions of higher learning, he also accused students from the North of cheating to get better grades in college and Northerners of taking up most senior positions in public service.
When Banda took the reins of power after Mutharika’s death in April, she hinted, in her address to the nation, that she would abolish the system.
Chipofya noted that Malawi, with Pres Banda, was now on the right track having restored the broken relationship with the donor community and global lender the International Monetary Fund.
Over 400 degrees, diplomas and certificates were awarded in the following disciplines: Renewable Energy Technology, Hospitality and Tourism, Biomedical Sciences, Education, Information and Communication Technology, Information and Library Science, Security Studies, Land Management (Physical Planning, Land Surveying and Estates Management, Fisheries, Forestry, Nursing and Optometry.
©2012 The Maravi Post. Reproduction authorised, with usual acknowledgment.