PROFESSOR CLIVE CHIRWA
AT THE THIRD GRADUATION CEREMONY
THE VICTORIA FALLS UNIVERSITY OF TECHNOLOGY
27th OCTOBER 2017
- THE PERMANENT SECRETARY, SOUTHERN PROVINCE MR. SIBANZE SIMUCHOBA
- HIs WORSHIP, THE MAYOR
- THE DISTRICT COMMISSIONER
- THE TOWN CLERK
- THE CHANCELLOR
- THE MEMBERS OF THE UNIVERSITY BOARD
- THE VICE CHANCELLOR
- ALL OTHER VICE CHANCELLORS FROM OTHER UNIVERSITIES
- ALL DEANS OF SCHOOLS
- ALL HEADS OF GOVERNMENT AND PARASTATALS
- ALL REPRESENTATIVES FROM TEACHERS UNIONS
- MEMBERS FROM POLITICAL PARTIES
- MEMBERS OF THE PRESS
- ALL INVITED GUESTS
- ALL GRADUANDS
- LADIES AND GENTLEMEN
I am yet again honoured to welcome you all to the 3rd Graduation Ceremony of the Victoria Falls University of Technology in my capacity as its Chancellor. You agree with me that, our first ever University in Livingstone, has come of age. While seven years of age is not a long time for an institution, but at least its products show that it is a mature institution. It therefore gives me a great pleasure to welcome you all to this great event in the life of our University. I am inviting you all to support our latest graduates in celebrating their great achievements.
DISTINGUISHED GUESTS, Ladies and Gentlemen,
Permit me at this stage to welcome our Guest of Honour, Hon. Dr. Edify Mukambala Hamukale, MP., who has accepted to grace today’s ceremony, through our Permanent Secretary. Sir, we are extremely happy for the opportunity you are giving us to present what your University is achieving within our province for the benefit of our nation. Your acceptance to officiate at our 3rd Graduation ceremony today, indicates the importance and priority accorded to education and the confidence shown in the Victoria Falls University of Technology by yourself and our Government.
As an institution, we wish to convey to Government our appreciation on the 7th National Development Plan’s Education strategic emphasis, particularly, “the enhancing of the private sector participation” and “enhancing the role of Science, technology and innovation.” We share Government’s great concern over the statistics indicating that out of 300,000 youths leaving the school system only 8% can be assimilated in the Tertiary and Higher education. VFU joins the nation in applauding our Government for the 2018 Budget, which among other things, has made financial provisions for Education and Human development in particular.
We want to share with our Government that the United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs show that 46.7% of the 2017 Zambians population of 17,349,058 is composed of youths under 15 years of age, representing those born in the 21st century, globally referred to as millennials. The challenge to our Government and higher education institutions like VFU is how to ensure that these Zambians contribute to Zambia’s industrialisation agenda of our Vision 2030.
It is for this reason we have proposed the theme ‘Knowledge and Innovation to launch Zambian Millennials into Industrialisation.’ We realise that while Zambia is rich with the human resources, it has not put in place concrete strategies to convert this population endowment to create a productive mass for our country’s development. I am proposing that Government creates “think tanks,” composed of Education experts in Government, industry experienced persons and highly visionary Zambian university academic representatives from abroad, who could recommend policy and implementation frameworks to ensure human development for industrialisation that is able to meet our Vision.
The Victoria Falls University of Technology, the first university to be founded in Livingstone and the first in Zambia to be dedicated solely to producing high skill ready-made graduates needed for the realization of our industrialization, commits to walk with our Government to contribute to the human resource development for Zambia’s 2030 Vision. We would like to propose concrete programmes our University can offer to develop the millennials so that they become active workers for Zambia’s industrialisation programme. We want to be the centre of excellence in Africa that contributes the knowledge that will make Zambia become a High-Tech country.
Please do convey these promises, our greetings and appreciation of all the efforts being made, to our President, his Excellency Edgar Chagwa Lungu and his Government. Please tell His Excellency that, the only Technology University in Zambia is ready to prepare graduates of the future that will meet “Les cadres renaissance Du Monde 2030”. In simple language, we are here to deliver real skills through our calibrated World Class Vocational Education that will meet the needed workforce able to deliver the 2030 vision.
DISTINGUISHED GUESTS, Ladies and Gentlemen,
I wish to take this opportunity to welcome all other distinguished guests here present. We are indeed honoured to have you among us at this special occasion. Without your support, the Government leadership, industry captains, sister education institutions – both public and private, donors, partners, parents, guardians and sponsors, the VFU would not have been sustained financially. To this end, I would like to register my appreciation for the support and encouragement the VFU is getting from you, our partners.
Institutions of Higher learning, like ours, should not limit its search for solutions to the human resource development for economic development to our national ambitions but should watch the horizons. In the quest to fulfil this role, our University looked at two aspects which will have a major influence on the Universities higher education delivery transformation, so as to continue to serve our national agendas effectively. Permit me to share with you these two aspects.
ISSUE 1: SADC COUNCIL OF MINISTERS MEETING OF 15 to 16 AUGUST 2017
Communicated that: The SADC Industrialisation Strategy and Roadmap (2015 -2063) was approval by Heads of States in April 2015; its Action Plan was approved and the strategy’s performance for 2015 -2016 was presented at this meeting; SADC Qualification Framework was approved; a decision was made to operationalise the SADC University of Transformation; and a report on the 2017 Industrialisation Week calling for paying attention to the changing employment requirements was presented.
Our conclusions after a review of the developments is that SADC agenda for industrialization is moving faster than our national agendas and those countries in the SADC whose economies are growing faster will benefit more from the regional agendas than Zambia whose GDP growth declined during 2015 and 2016.
We are proposing that private universities, who have been recognized as partners nationally and at the SADC level, be invited to participate in working groups of Experts to recommend the national strategies to benefit from the regional initiatives while keeping in focus our National vision of industrialisation.
Another lesson we draw from the SADC strategy is that the reference to private sector has tendency to emphasize the industry participants, especially manufacturing industry, other than higher education institutions.
We are inviting Zambian Industry Development Corporation to initiate dialogue with private higher education institutions on the changing employment and new technology skills needs so that our institutions may become active partners in Zambia’s development.
DISTINGUISHED GUESTS, LADIES AND GENTLEMEN,
ISSUE 2: The International Commission on Financing Global Education Opportunity
The International Commission on Financing Global Education Opportunity established a very high profile International Commission to find ways to finance education in the changing employment requirements for the 21st century youth. The Commission have suggested reforms that will attract mobilisation of funding to education. Countries will be supported by the funding agencies depending on how much they adhere to the reforms demanded by the International Commission. The International Commission found that half the jobs in the world, will disappear due to change in industries and therefore new high levels skills will be required. The International Commission proposes to launch a Learning Generation, which will be the largest global learning expansion, to be financed through Financing Compact. The four recommended categories on inclusion in the compact are performance, innovation, inclusion and financing with twelve recommendations.
Although our country has allocated 11% of the 2018 National Budget to Education, it is possible that most of the financial resources might not necessary contribute to learning outcomes and it is likely that our country might have difficulties in meeting some of the recommended categories of performance, innovation, and inclusion.
The Victoria Falls University of Technology wishes to offer itself to partner with Government, especially the Provincial leadership to assess our Zambian capacity to take advantage of this new international initiative that would attract funding to our education system and accelerate expansion of our education system.
Allow me to turn to the students of VFU who form the most critical part of the VFU family. My dear young men and women, you are the reason for the existence of our university. our VFU. As I mentioned two years ago, you again have shown a lot of commitment, maturity and dedication to your work during this period. I am told the student body through its University Council have decided to work with University Management to find solutions to problems facing the university for the benefit of all concerned. Despite the fact that not all problems can have immediate solutions, you have remained steadfast in your work.
I note with pride, that our University motto “Knowledge and Leadership” is already engrained in your characters and behaviour. I am beginning to believe that the Victoria Falls University of Technology is succeeding in creating leaders of our communities, future companies and the nation. You therefore deserve the admiration you received from crowds in town as you matched in unison with your seniors and faculty. We hope you will pass on your maturity and dedication to those entering the University for the first time. We count on you to impart the understanding of the important role of making your university as a platform of exchange of knowledge and ideas and being agents of promoting our University for its future growth.
Let me share with you the uniqueness of 2017 in the life of the Victoria Falls University of Technology. For the first time, since its founding in 2010, the University missed the full-time presence of its founder and the vision setter for more than five months, due to circumstances beyond our control. The day-to-day running of the University was in the hands of the Acting Vice-Chancellor and a very dedicated Management team. From the regular reports received of the University from management, our regulators and other partners, the University has not faltered in its achievements. We now know that the University vision has permeated its ranks and it is owned by its management and staff. This maturity and dedication is highly manifested the Higher Education Authority inspectors report on the accreditation of our programmes.
Allow me Ladies and gentlemen to request you to stand and give a standing ovation to the VFU Management and academic team. Without these brains, unparalleled commitment to excellence and drive to produce the most skillful ready-made graduates to the Zambian labour market, our University would be like others in Zambia that are milling the same grains for the past 40 years.
Hip Hip, Hurray, Hip Hip Hurray, Hip Hip Hurray!
We are innovators.
The next few years will be breathtaking for our University and Country. We intend, after consultation of our draft approved by the University Board and the academia, to embark on building the Real University of Technology. We will start with building our Hi-Tech campus at Kazungula that is going to accommodate State-of-the-Art academic facilities for the future.
We will introduce innovative programmes that are current with SADC vision and beyond. Our aim is to become the centre of excellence in researching technologies that will help our nation become a better mining country done by Zambians, a better value addition producer using our resources, a better producer of teachers that will deliver hi-tech curricula in national schools, a better tourist destination and beyond.
We want to have things made in Zambia such as solar energy systems, lithium based batteries, electric cars, electrical components made from copper, computer manufacturing, software development for our offices and industries and algorithms for internet security.
With our partners we will build the working factories to produce these products and to act as our research laboratories where we will be innovating and inventing new products for our country, the SADC region and further-a-field.
We are a private university with a business acumen. Our goal is to contribute to our nation prosperity.
Distinguished Guest, Ladies and Gentlemen.
Please allow me now to address new Graduates.
In 2013 we had only 23 graduates and in 2015 we had 61 graduates and today we have 144 graduates, indicating that the University is growing.
Young ladies and young men, good afternoon. You are our pride today, and that is why we all, including Provincial Government Leadership, the business community, representatives of other Higher Education Institutions, have abandoned everything to come and celebrate this big event in your lives. Besides that, as you have heard, the national and global focus is on industrialisation will require new talent and skills that are ever changing. Be ready to continue learning.
We ask the Almighty God’s blessings over you and His guidance throughout your lives.
Permit me, at this juncture to invite His Worship the Mayor, Mr. Mapuwo., to invite The Permanent Secretary, Mr. SIBANZE SIMUCHOBA, representing our Guest of Honour, HON. DR. EDIFY MUKAMBALA HAMUKALE, MP., MINISTER, Southern Province,, to address the assembly.
His Worship the Mayor Sir.