Document Sample
                          DECEMBER 2004

     speech by His Excellency the President of the Republic of Malawi
                         Dr. Bingu wa Mutharika

Chairman of Mzuzu University Council, Professor Terence Davis, OBE;

Vice Chancellor of Mzuzu University, Prof. Peter Mwanza;

The First Lady, Madame Ethel Mutharika;

Rt. Hon. Dr. Cassim Chilumpha, Vice President of the Republic of Malawi
and Minister of Water Development;

Honourable Minister of Education, Mr. Yusuf Mwawa;

Honourable Ministers;

Vice Chancellor of the University of Malawi, Prof. David Rubadiri;

Your Excellency, the Head of Lakeland College Project;

Your Lordship Chief Justice;

Honourable Members of Parliament;

Your Worship, The Mayor of Mzuzu City Assembly, Prof. Egbert Chibambo;

Leaders of Political Parties;

Paramount Chiefs, Senior Chiefs and other Traditional Chiefs;

Your Excellencies, Members of the Diplomatic Corps;

Members of Mzuzu University Council;

Management and Staff of Mzuzu University;


Distinguished Ladies and Gentlemen.

I am very happy to be here at Mzuzu University for the auspicious
occasion when the University is awarding degrees to those who have
successfully completed their degree programme. This institution is the
fountain of knowledge and wisdom. It is also the source of high calibre
human capital that is so vital for the economic transformation of our

My statement to you is entitled TOWARDS A WILLED FUTURE. I have
selected this topic because of its relevance to both the academic staff
and the graduating students of the Mzuzu University. This will become
clear shortly.

I am therefore happy to be here as the Chancellor of this University to
award diplomas, degrees and other awards. I see my role as that of not
only awarding degrees and other awards but most importantly as the
primary supporter of the institution. As such, my main mandate is to see
that the institution is operating well, and producing human resources of
the highest quality. It is also my role to see that the institution is run
efficiently and has sufficient resources in order for it to achieve its goals.

As Chancellor, I am indeed the primary advocate of the University.
Therefore, I would like to pledge that I will do my very best to ensure that
the University becomes established as a center of excellence in the
different fields of knowledge.

Mr. Chairman

Mr. Vice Chancellor

Honourable Ministers

The graduating class of 2004 is special to me because this is my first
graduation ceremony as Head of State of the Republic of Malawi.
Therefore, I warmly congratulate you all on your successful completion of
your degrees in the fields of Arts, Sciences, Health Sciences and
Education. Let me assure you that by your achievement, you have
earned the right to count yourself very fortunate to be one of the very few
citizens of Malawi who have acquired good tertiary education.

Of course every right has a responsibility. In that regard, your responsibility
to the society is to prove to your country that you are worthy citizens. As
you all know, Malawi’s most contributing factor to its underdevelopment
and poverty is inadequate capacity to manage our development. You
therefore must go out to contribute towards the transformation of Malawi
from a country that is largely consuming and importing to one that is a
producing and exporting. Everyone of you will have a significant role to
play whether you are a teacher, health worker, forest scientist, information
scientist or an administrator.
I also congratulate the members of staff of Mzuzu University under the
leadership of Chairman of Council, Professor Terence N. Davis, OBE and
Vice Chancellor, Professor Peter Mwanza, on your unwavering dedication
to the development of the University and maintenance of high standards
of excellence.

Your success is manifested in that although the Mzuzu University is a new
institution, it has, developed very quickly and steadily to the admiration of
all of us. This university is also known throughout the world. This is despite
the fact that the University is still in its infancy and is still developing the
other faculties to add to the existing three. We can certainly see that the
beginning has been thorough, and well organized. Thank you for a job
well done.

Mr. Chairman

Mr. Vice Chancellor

As I have said before, “the past is for us to learn from; the present is for us
to manage; the future is for us to change”. In that regard, economic
history has taught us that for a country to realize rapid economic
transformation and development, it must invest sufficiently in education.
There is no country that has made progress in socio and economic
development without investing heavily in capacity building through
education. There are countries in South East Asia and Latin America that
were no more developed than Malawi in the mid sixties but which have
made vast strides in economic development. These countries were able
to achieve so much because they invested in education, science and
technology: There is no other way. Therefore, for our country to achieve
rapid economic and social development and to eradicate poverty, we
need highly qualified and trained teachers, administrators, lawyers,
planners, economists, engineers, agriculturists, foresters, agronomists,
scientists, ecologists, geographers, doctors, nurses, etc. The Mzuzu
University is the vehicle for this.

That is why, Mr. Chairman, I have decided to organize an Education
Review Conference to assess and analyse the reasons why there is such
poor performance in our primary and secondary schools. Such a
conference will, inter alia, make forward-looking recommendations on the

         The design of appropriate             mechanisms      for   effective
          management of education;
         The allocation of adequate       financial   resources   to   our
          educational institutions;

         The development of national capacities and capabilities for
          economic and social transformation; and

         The matching and alignment of our education and training
          programmes to the needs of government, business and industrial
          development of our nation.

At this juncture I want to commend Mzuzu University for giving priority to
training teachers for secondary schools, and for focusing on
environmental subjects such as forestry, energy and water and
information communication technology and others. I am convinced that
these are areas of greatest need in which there are wide gaps in our
national capacity building programmes.

Mr. Chairman

Vice Chancellor

Ladies and gentlemen

An aspect that also pleases me immensely is that Mzuzu University is
strengthening its capacity towards the rational management and
development of our natural and mineral resources. It is my hope that the
programmes should not end at only developing capacity for the
exploitation of the resources, but they should also aim at the production
of high quality finished goods that can be traded domestically and can
also be exported to other countries. I would encourage you that Mzuzu
University should continue to provide human resources and technology in
these areas.

Mr. Chairman

I have noted with concern your comments on the growth of the
institutions, due to inadequacy of financing. This is because hitherto we
have been rhetorical when we talk of investing in education, science and
technology. In fact, if we look at figures of enrolment in institutions of
learning, we discover that Malawi’s population enrolled in higher
education is extremely low compared to our neighbours in SADC and
Africa as a whole. A UNESCO World Science Report has listed Malawi as
having one of the lowest ratios of student population at higher education
level in Africa. In future, we need to change this so as to increase the
enrolment of students into our Universities. This, in turn, will provide
adequate numbers of trained and qualified people to manage our socio-
economic growth process.

Mr. Chairman

As I said, the future is for us to change. Therefore, as the way forward, we
must find the means to ensure that the Mzuzu University achieves its
planned targets. I am therefore directing that the Minister of Education
and the Minister of Finance should liaise with the University in order to
correct the situation that has left the University stagnant with only two
faculties that are partially established. The University has failed to expand
because of lack of space in infrastructure.

I have noted with interest that the University has a strategic plan that
envisages the provision of space and facilities to handle a student
population of 3,500 by 2010. This objective is both realistic and
achievable. Therefore, I would like to assure you that my Government will
throw its weight behind this programme because this is the sure way to
achieve social and economic transformation of Malawi.

To the new graduates, let me remind you that your new life in the real
world has just begun. The success you will achieve will depend entirely on
your own attitude to life. The way to succeed is to select the field you are
interested in, know all that is to be learnt about it and work hard to
achieve it. Nothing comes on a silver platter.

You may be shocked to discover that this is a “man eats man” society.
You may be frustrated to discover that your rights are being trampled
upon. And you may be discouraged to discover that you are on your
own and no one seems to care where you sleep, what you wear and
what you eat. You may even feel sorry for yourself. So welcome to the
real world.

You can decide to be achievers, leaders and trendsetters in your own
fields or you can choose to be followers and possibly losers. But I am
confident that you will all succeed if you work hard. The choice is very
much yours.

In conclusion, I wish to thank you, Mr. Chairman, the Vice Chancellor and
the whole University community for your warm welcome. I and the First
Lady will cherish this welcome in our hearts for all times to come. We also
take this as very symbolic of my first visit to the North as President of this
Once again, my warm congratulations and best wishes to you all for a
bright future. I wish you all good luck in your endeavours.


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