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VICE PRESIDENT SPEECH AT THE VFU SECOND GRADUATION CEREMONY

THE SPEECH

BY

HER HONOUR, THE VICE-PRESIDENT OF THE REPUBLIC OF ZAMBIA

HON. INONGE WINA

THE GUEST OF HONOUR

AT THE SECOND GRADUATION CEREMONY

OF

THE VICTORIA FALLS UNIVERSITY OF TECHNOLOGY

(VFU)

IN LIVINGSTONE

ON

20th  NOVEMBER 2015

  • MINISTER of HIGHER EDUCATION, HON. Michael L. KAINGU, MP, Ph,
  • OTHER Honourable Cabinet Ministers here present,
  • Honourable Member of Parliament for the Livingstone Constituency, MR. LAWRENCE EVANS ,
  • Honourable Minister of the Southern Province, Mr. Mubukwanu,
  • Heads of Diplomatic missions here present,
  • The Mayor of the CITY OF Livingstone
  • The Chancellor OF THE Victoria Falls University of Technology, Dr. Clive Chirwa
  • The Vice Chancellor OF THE Victoria Falls University of Technology, Ms. Gertrude Mwangala Akapelwa
  • The University Board members present
  • Vice Chancellors and Heads of Sister Universities present
  • Other Distinguished dignitaries here present
  • VFU Faculty and Staff Members,
  • VFU 2015 Graduands
  • All protocol observed

Ladies and Gentlemen,

 

Good Afternoon to you all.

It IS WITH great Pleasure THAT I find myself among you Today, To share the Joy and excitement Brought about by the achievemts of today’s graduands. I am happy to see these young men and women who have completed the VARIOUS STAGES OF THEIR University education. AN event such as THIS HAS TO BE CELEBRATED BECAUSE IT increaseS the stock of Zambian quality human resource essential FOR OUR NATIONAL ECONOMIC AND SOCIAL DEVELOPMENT.

 

DISTINGUISHED GUESTS, LADIES AND GENTLEMEN,

ALLOW me To begin by sharing with you some facts that explain The importance of UNIVERsity EDUCATION AND WHY UNIVERSITY graduation ceremonIES such as this one should be celebrated.

The ZAMBIAN 2010 census put the Zambian population at slightly over 13 million people. According to THESE estimates, Zambia is experiencing a youth bulge, because 82% of the population is 35 years old or younger, and 66% is 24 years old or younger. the 2015 World Economic Forum Global Information Report puts our 2014 population at 14.5 million. THis implies that zambia is well endowed with potential human capital. HOwever, for the country to benefit from this human capital dividends there is a pressing need to provide quality Tertiary education to Empower this youthful population. it is Therefore befitting that Your National leadership  should support and encourage young Universities such as this one as they contribute to increasing the pool of high level human resources critical for human developent. youR THEME FOR THIS graduation CEREMONY, which is “SUPPORTING THE GROWTH OF EDUCATION NURTURES THE NATION” IS THERFORE VERY APPROPRIATE, IN THAT SUPPORTING UNIVERSITY EDUCATION INDEED NURTURES OUR NATION.

 

DISTINGUISHED GUESTS, LADIES AND GENTLEMEN,

YOU WILL RECALL THAT ZAMBIA’S VISION IS TO BECOME A MIDDLE INCOME COUNTRY BY 2030 AND WE ALSO ASPIRE TO BE A DEVELOPED COUNTRY BY 2064. UNIVERSITY EDUCATION IS KEY TO ACHIEVING OUR NATIONAL VISION. IT IS FOR THIS REASON THAT OUR REPUBLICAN PRESIDENT, HIS EXCELLNCY MR. EDGAR CHAGWA LUNGU, WHEN PRESENTING HIS TRANSFORMATIONAL AGENDA TO PARLIAMENT CITED HUMAN CAPITAL DEVELOPMENT AS ONE OF THE PRIORITIES OF THIS AGENDA.

CONSEQUENTLY, THE GOVERNMENT IS COMMITTED TO ENSURING THAT EVERY PROVINCE HAS AT-LEAST ONE UNIVERSITY. THE PRESIDENT INFORMED THE NATION THAT LUBWA, CHALIMBANA AND PALABANA UNIVERSITIES ARE UNDER CONSTRUCTION, WHILE THE ROBERT MAKASA UNIVERSITY HAS BEEN COMPLETED.  FURTHERMORE, CONSTRUCTION WORKS AT THE KING LEWANIKA UNIVERSITY IN MONGU AND LUAPULA UNIVERSITY IN MANSA ARE READY TO COMMENCE.

 

 

DISTINGUISHED GUESTS, LADIES AND GENTLEMEN,

despite GOVERNMENT EFFORTS, the numbers of graduates in areas of national development are still below the requirements TO MEET OUR NATIONAL VISION. eVERY YEAR LARGE NUMBERS OF SCHOOL LEAVERS WHO QUALIFY FOR uNIVERSITY ADMISSION DO NOT MAKE IT DUE INSUFFICIENT PLACES.  in MANY WORK PLACES THERE IS A LACK OF SUITABLY QUALIFIED PEOPLE TO SUPPORT OUR ECONOMY. OUR gOVERNMENT’S DECISION To ENCOURAGe THE PRIVATE SECTOR’S PARTICIPATION IN EDUCATION AND TRAINING PROVISION IS SEEN IN THIS CONTEXT.  UNIVESITIES, SUCH AS THE VICTORIA FALLS UNIVERSITY OF TECHNOLOGY ARE PROVIDING THE CRITICAL PUBLIC PRIVATE PARTNERSHIP (PPP) ESSENTIAL TO EDUCATION DEVELOPMENT GLOBALLY.

 

DISTINGUISHED GUESTS, LADIES AND GENTLEMEN,

YOUR gOVERNMENT IS READY to support private universities so that they CAN grow TO be competitive AT THE INTERNATIONAL LEVEL IN ORDER TO absorb our youthS and adults requiring life-long learning.  WE RECOGNISE The CAPACITY OF private universities TO reliEve the pressures on PUBLIC universities TO PROVIDE HIGHER EDUCATION IF PRIVATE UNIVERSITIES’ INFRASTRUCTURE And facilities are FULLY established. WE ARE ALSO AWARE OF THE SACRIFICES AND THE CHALLENGES FACED BY PRIVATE UNIVERSITIES in THEIR quest to support THE government IN providing university education.

SOME OF TheSE challenge RELATE TO obtaining land to build modern campuses.  THIS is a big ISSUe FoR some univerSITIES, WHICH are forced to pay very high rentals or buy land AT EXHORBITANT prices.   THE LONG TERM NATURE OF THE RETURNS TO INVESTING IN EDUCATION MAKES BORROWING FOR EDUCATION CAPITAL UNATTRACTIVE.

ACCESS TO FINANCING is ANOTHER big challenge for our private universities. FInancial institutions do not regard them as SMALL AND MEDIUM ENTREPRISEs, even when they are still in the startup stageS, while at the same time they do not have NEITHER capital capacity nor endorsement to borrow AT very high interest rates. THerefore, WITH theIR social economic sector STATUS, banks ARE RELUCTANT to finance them, as they Are regarded as HAVING HIGH FIDUCIARY riskS.

WE are aware that students enrolled in most of THE PRIVATE UNIVERSITIES do not benefit from any sponsorsHIP SCHEMES DESPITE THEM havING very LIMITED CAPACITY TO PAY their fees. HENCE MOST OF THE private universitIES CONTINUE TO OPERATE AND MAINTAIN THEIR institutionS with A LOT OF PERSONAL SACRIFICE.  THIS IS BECAUSE ALTHOUGH PRIVATE UNIVERSITIES ARE REGISTERED AS COMPAMIES, THEY DO NOT OPEraTE ACCORDING TO COMPANY PRINCIPLES OF MAKING PROFITS, SINCE EDUCATION IS NOT A PRODUCTION GOOD.

 

DISTINGUISHED GUESTS, LADIES AND GENTLEMEN,

TO THIS EFFECT, THE GOVERNMENT WOULD LIKE TO CALL UPON ALL STAKEHOLDERS TO SUPPORT ZAMBIAN PRIVATE UNIVERSITIES IN VARIOUS WAYS, TO THE BENEFIT OF OUR NATION. SOME OF THE SUPPORT COULD BE IN THE FOLLOWING MANNER:

  1. WE KNOW THAT PRIVATE COMPANIES ARE REQUIRED TO FULLFIL THEIR CORPORATE SOCIAL RESPONSIBILITIES (CSR), BY ALLOCATING SOME FUNDS TOWARDS THE SUPPORT OF A SOCIAL CAUSE EVERY YEAR, however MOST OF THEM FACE DILEMMAS ON DETERMINING ON WHAT TO SPEND THESE CSR FUNDS. GIVEN THAT PRIVATE UNIVERSITIES ARE IN SOCIAL PARTNERSHIP WITH THE Government IN DEVELOPING THE HUMAN RESOURCE CAPACITY FOR OUR ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT, I WOULD APPEAL TO PRIVATE BUSINESSES TO IDENTIFY UNIVERSITIES THEY CAN PARTNER WITH AS THEY HAVE DONE SO FAR WITH PUBLIC UNIVERSITIES. THEY COULD WORK WITH THESE PRIVATE UNIVERSITIES TO DEVELOP PROGRAMMES FOR WHICH THEY CAN SPONSOR STUDENTS FOR SKILLS TRAINING. SUCH PARTNERSHIPS WOULD STRENGTHEN THE MATCH BETWEEN WHAT BUSINESSES NEED AND CAN USE AND AT THE SAME TIME ENRICH THE PROGRAMME MIX OF COURSES OFFERED BY THE UNIVERSITIES. IT IS SUCH COHERENCE WHICH IMPROVES HIGHER EDUCATION QUALITY.

 

  1. I WISH TO ALSO ENCOURAGE BILATERAL PARTNERS THAT ARE INTERESTED IN SUPPORTING THE GOVERNMENT IN HUMAN RESOURCE DEVELOPMENT, NOT TO LIMIT THEIR SUPPORT TO PUBLIC EDUCATION BUT TO EXTEND SUCH SUPPORT TO PRIVATE UNIVERSITIES AS WELL. I AM ALSO APPEALING TO THEM TO OFFER SPONSORSHIPS TO STUDENTS ACCEPTED INTO THESE PRIVATE UNIVERSITIES.
  2. LOCAL GOVERNMENTS SHOULD BE ENCOURAGED AND GIVEN INCENTIVES TO ALLOCATE LAND FOR THE EXPANSION OF PRIVATE UNIVERSITIES. AVAILABILITY OF LAND WILL ENABLE THESE UNIVERSITIES TO HAVE CAPITAL TO USE AS COLLATERAL FOR BORROWING AND WILL THUS ATTRACT INVESTORS TO PARTNER WITH THE PRIVATE UNIVERSITIES FOR THEIR EXPANSION.

ON ITS PART, THE GOVERNMENT IS EXPLORING POSSIBILITIES OF EXPANDING PARTNERSHIPS WITH PRIVATE UNIVERSITIES THROUGH:

  • SPONSORING STUDENTS FOR TRAINING IN KEY SKILLS NEEDED BY THE GOVERNMENT;
  • GETTING INTO LONG LEASES OF GOVERNMENT INFRASTRUCTURE TO SOME OF THE UNIVERSITIES; AND
  • PARTNERING IN ACADEMIC RELATED SERVICES.

 

THE GOVERNMENT WILL ALSO HELP IDENTIFY OPPORTUNITIES FOR FUNDING FOR OUR PRIVATE UNIVERSITIES AND ENCOURAGE PRIVATE INVESTORS TO PARTNER WITH THESE UNIVERSITIES.

 

DISTINGUISHED GUESTS, LADIES AND GENTLEMEN,

PERMIT ME NOW TO ADDRESS MYSELF TO MY CHILDREN HERE, THE GRADUANDS. I AM AWARE THAT SOME OF YOU ARE GOING INTO THE WORLD TO LOOK FOR EMPLOYMENT FOR THE VERY FIRST TIME WHILE OTHERS ARE ALREADY EMPLOYED. WHATEVER CATEGORY YOU FALL INTO, PLEASE REMEMBER THAT LEARNING DOES NOT STOP AFTER YOU HAVE ACQUIRED THE CERTIFICATE. OUR NATION COUNTS ON YOU TO TRANSFORM OUR COUNTRY FOR THE BETTER.  YOUR CERTIFICATE HAS NOT ARMED YOU WITH ALL YOU NEED TO EMBARK ON THIS MISSION THAT OUR NATION EXPECTS YOU TO EMBARK ON. DO NOT LOSE SIGHT OF THE SLOGAN OF YOUR UNIVERSITY “KNOWLEDGE & LEADERSHIP.” FOURS YEARS AT THE UNIVERSITY IS TOO SHORT TO EQUIP YOU WITH ALL YOU REQUIRE FOR A LIFETIME LEADERSHIP. I THERFORE ADVISE YOU NOT TO SIT BACK AND WAIT TO BE EMPLOYED OR TO BE TOLD WHAT TO DO.  THE KNOWLEDGE YOU HAVE HAS EQUIPPED YOU TO IDENTIFY OPPORTUNITIES TO CONTRIBUTE, SEEK THE KNOWLEDGE YOU REQUIRE AND LEAD IN FINDING SOLUTIONS IN WHATEVER COMMUNITY YOU FIND YOURSELVES. IF YOU ALL LIVED UP TO YOUR UNIVERSITY MOTTO, YOU WOULD BE AGENTS OF OUR NATIONAL TRANSFORMATION.  WE EXPECT NOTHING LESS OF YOU.

I CONGRATULATE YOU SEVERALLY AND INDIVIDUALLY ON YOUR ACHIEVEMENT IN EARNING YOURSELVES THE TITLE OF A UNIVERSITY GRADUATE. WITH EFFECT FROM TODAY YOU HAVE BECOME LEADERS IN YOUR FAMILIES, IN YOUR WORK PLACES, IN YOUR COMMUNITIES AND IN YOUR NATION.

 

DISTINGUISHED GUESTS, LADIES AND GENTLEMEN,

WHEN THE VICE CHANCELLOR OF THE VICTORIA FALLS UNIVERSITY OF TECHNOLOGY, MS. GERTRUDE MWANGALA AKAPELWA, APPROACHED ME IN PERSON, TO INVITE ME TO GRACE THIS OCCASION, i DID NOT HESITATE TO ACCEPT. THIS IS BECAUSE I DID NOT WANT TO MISS THE OCCASION OF RECOGNISING ZAMBIANS WHO ARE BRAVE ENOUGH TO TAKE GIANT STEPS IN ORDER TO EMPOWER OUR YOUTH. this zambian-owned, WOMAN-LED university, tHE ONLY ONE WITHIN THE THREE HUNDRED RADIUS OF lIVINGSTONE, AND WHICH HAS BEEN OPERATING FOR ALMOST SIX YEARS NOW, IS ONE OF THOSE INStITUTIONS THE gOVERNMENT HAS WATCHED WITH ADMIRATION. WHILE THE MAJORITY OF PRIVATE UNIVERSITIES ARE LOCATED IN lusaka, ndola aND KITWE, WHERE THERE ARE BIG POPULATIONS OF SALARIED POTENTIAL STUDENTS THE VFU DECIDED TO ESTABLISH ITSELF IN LIVINGSTONE, THE SOUTH MOST TIP OF OUR COUNTRY, STARTING WITH TWELVE STUDENTS AND GROWING STEADLY TO THE CURRENT FIGURE OF 480. WHAT COURAGE AND DETERMINATION!!

i AM RELIABLY INFORMED THAT THE Vfu IS VERY INNOVATIVE IN THE WAY IT HAS CHOSEN CORE SUBJECTS FOR ITS UNIVERSITY PROGRAMMES AND THAT COMPULSORY SUBJECTS ARE IN LINE WITH OUR gOVERNMENT AGENDA. FOR EXAMPLE, IT HAS MADE INFORMATION TECHNOLOGY COMPULSORY FOR ALL STUDENTS STUDYING AT THE UNIVERSITY.  SUCH REMARKABLE FORESIGHT IS COMMENDABLE.

DURING HIS RECENT SPEECH AT THE OPENING OF PARLIAMENT, OUR REPUBLICAN PRESIDENT HIS EXCELLNCY MR. EDGAR CHAGWA LUNGU, ASKED ALL ZAMBIANS TO TRANSFORM OURSELVES BY, AMONG OTHER THINGS:

EMBRACING TECHNOLOGY TO SIMPLIFY AND QUICKEN PROVISION OF SERVICES;”

tHE VICTORIA FALLS uNIVERSITY OF TECHNOLOGY IS HEADING THE CALL BY MAKING INFORMATION TECHNLOGY, COMMUNICATION SKILLS, ENTREPRENERSHIP AND SPECIAL EDUCATION, COMPULSORY COURSES FOR ALL STUDENTS STUDYING AT vfu.

 

DISTINGUISHED GUESTS, LADIES AND GENTLEMEN,

PLEASE aLLOW ME TO CONGRATULATE THE UNIVERSITY bOARD, the chancellor, THE vfu mANAGEMENT AND ITS VICE CHANCELLOR, THE FACULTY AND ALL WHO HAVE CONTRIBUTED TO THE SUCCESSFUL COMPLETION OF THE GRADUANDS’ ACADEMIC JOURNEY. wE THANK YOU FOR YOUR COURAGE, DEDICATION TO DUTY AND THE PROFESSIONAL MANNER IN WHICH YOU HAVE ACCOMPLISHED THIS MAMMOTH TASK. My congratulations also are extended to the parents and sponsors of these graduands. It is thanks to you all that we are here today. We are aware that you sacrificeD so much to build a bright future for these young men and women.

fINALLY, TO THOSE WHO HAVE PARTICIPATED IN THE ORGANISATION OF THIS AFTERNOON’S EVENT, TO THE INTERTAINERS, THE MEDIA AND OUR HOSTS, WE THANK YOU MOST SINCERELY FOR A JOB WELL DONE.

I THANK YOU ALL FOR BEING HERE.

 

 

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