Under the slogan ‘A milestone achieved, a Journey begins’, the fourth Graduation Ceremony of Unicaf University in Malawi was held on the 3rd of August at BICC, in the presence of the Honourable Minister of Education, Madalitso Kambauwa Wirima MP. A total of 444 new Bachelor’s, Master’s and Doctoral graduates of Unicaf University in Malawi received their degree awards in a magnificent ceremony, broadcast live on Times TV and on social media.
The Honourable Minister of Education, Madalitso Kambauwa Wirima MP stated that 444 highly trained professionals will now start working for the development of their respective countries. The Minister said that online learning ensures equal access to higher education, and African nations need to embrace online learning to become competitive. She added that to increase the percentage of higher education graduates in Malawi, the Ministry of Education plans a number of strategies, prioritised interventions and actions, among which the provision of ODeL programmes is key.
Speaking to the graduates, the Honourable Minister said: ”I encourage you to continue to engage in lifelong learning as you develop your careers and to be open and flexible to change as you move along your path. Find your purpose and your role in shaping the new world. Become creators of the future. I advise you to grab opportunities that come your way with integrity. To respect others at all levels, to have impeccable work ethics, work hard and, above all, to be of good character.»
Dr Robert Ridley, Unicaf University’s Vice-Chancellor, welcomed all distinguished guests, graduands and their families attending the Ceremony from around the world. Dr Ridley said that this year 153 Malawian and 291 international students have graduated, with 190 of them having completed their studies in the French language. He then underlined that the University focuses sharply on research, with 22 new doctorate degrees awarded this year. Research, he added, leads to innovation, which is critical for business growth and economic development.
Dr. Kevin Andrews, Unicaf University’s Vice-Chancellor at the international level, praised the graduates’ dedication and highlighted the significance of research and innovation for economic growth. He acknowledged the launch of an innovative Bachelor of Education programme, expected to contribute significantly in enhancing primary school teaching in Malawi.
Professor Joseph Kuthemba Mwale, the University’s Chancellor, emphasised the global potential of the University’s online teaching model, which can benefit working professionals worldwide, connecting them and fostering a unique learning experience.
Graduate Muna Abdallah Ismail, representing all Bachelor’s graduands of 2023, is a refugee from Sudan, living at a UN camp in South Sudan, who received a full scholarship from Unicaf University, in collaboration with the UNHCR and the German DAFI Initiative. She expressed her ‘endless gratitude’ for the privilege of internationally recognised higher education and said: ‘This reflects an era in which the world is pushing to close the gap between male and female, between educated and illiterate, between rich and destitute. Ten years ago, the young woman standing before you today holding a BA in Business Administration was a helpless refugee with a grim future. But miracles do happen! Thank you DAFI and Unicaf for changing my story!’
Dr Charlène Kabongo, a medical practitioner from the Democratic Republic of Kongo Congo, spoke on behalf of this year’s Master’s graduates. She works for the National Malaria Control Programme in her country and has graduated in the with a Master’s in Health Management. Dr Kabongo said in her speech: ‘With determination, good organisation and discipline, by learning to manage my time and projects efficiently, by feeling excited to learn from my lecturers and from my fellow students from around the world, by being able to do assignments in the comfort of my home, after work and family commitments were finished, by easily accessing reading materials online, I have come to this proud moment of celebrating my personal achievement, together with all Unicaf University graduates of 2023! Today, I am a strong candidate in the job market on an international scale.’
Finally, Joseph Nangantani, Audit, Tax and Advisory Partner of AGM Global, spoke on behalf of doctoral graduates and referred to the importance of Accounting and Finance degrees in Malawi today: “With the many challenges we face, which require local solutions, a relevant Accounting and Finance degree is extremely valuable in Malawi today. Studying online with Unicaf University toward high quality degrees is a valuable addition to the training opportunities available to accountants in Malawi. The Unicaf University Accounting and Finance degree programmes, delivered by Malawian tutors with good local knowledge and by well-qualified international tutors from around the world, contribute to the development of competent graduates, capable of bringing positive changes to the corporate world.’
This year’s recipient of an honorary Doctorate is Mr Wisely Phiri, Founder and Managing Director of Sparc Systems Ltd, an Information Technology company with headquarters in Malawi and operations in Zambia and Rwanda. Mr Phiri’s accomplishments in business demonstrate how the power of education can lead to innovation, international expansion and pan-African economic development.
Mr Phiri received the Doctor of Philosophy (Honoris Causa) award stressing in his acceptance speech that the world has had enough of motivational speakers, and needs more doers. Addressing this year’s graduates Mr Phiri said: “The best innovations globally have come from those in difficulties, as innovations are meant to solve specific problems. The greater the problems the greater the innovations. Malawi, one of the poorest countries in the world, gives you a pool of problems to inspire you to innovate and grow. I ask you to join us in pushing innovative solutions from Malawi that we can export to other countries thereby creating new sources of income and even solving the forex challenge, which is crippling our economy.”
Finally, Chancellor Kuthemba Mwale officially conferred the degrees upon this year’s graduates, representing 52 different countries, which further indicates Unicaf University’s global reach and influence.
Written by Eva Koursoumba