What RB said at first Open University graduation

HONOURABLE MINISTER OF EDUCATION,

RB with Education minister Dora Siliya

RB with Education minister Dora Siliya

PERMANENT SECRETARIES,

SENIOR GOVERNMENT OFFICIALS,

CHANCELLORS AND VICE CHANCELLORS FROM

VARIOUS UNIVERSITIES,

INVITED GUESTS,

GRADUANTS,

LADIES AND GENTLEMEN,

I AM GRATIFIED TO BE ACCORDED THIS OPPORTUNITY TO OFFICIATE AT THE INSTALLATION OF THE CHANCELLOR OF THE ZAMBIAN OPEN UNIVERSITY, AN OCCASION THAT COINCIDES WITH THE INSTITUTION’S FIRST GRADUATION CEREMONY. THIS UNIVERSITY IS UNIQUE IN THE HISTORY OF ZAMBIA BECAUSE IT IS THE FIRST PRIVATE INDIGENOUS UNIVERSITY.  THE INSTITUTION HAS BEEN DEVELOPED TO AVAIL EDUCATION THROUGH DISTANCE EDUCATION TO BOTH URBAN AND RURAL MEMBERS OF OUR SOCIETY.  I COMMEND THE UNIVERSITY FOR THIS INITIATIVE

LADIES AND GENTLEMEN,

TO THE FIRST CHANCELLOR OF THE ZAMBIAN OPEN UNIVERSITY, PROFESSOR FRANCIS YAMBA, I CONGRATULATE YOU ON YOUR APPOINTMENT AS CHANCELLOR OF A NEWLY-ESTABLISHED BUT FAST GROWING UNIVERSITY.  YOUR APPOINTMENT IS NOT AN ORDINARY ONE; IT HAS COME AFTER THOROUGH CONSIDERATION OF YOUR IMMENSE CONTRIBUTION TO UNIVERSITY ADMINISTRATION AND ACADEMIC LIFE.

THEREFORE, YOUR EXPERIENCE SHOULD BE BROUGHT TO BEAR ON THE CHALLENGE OF LEADING A UNIVERSITY LIKE THE ZAMBIAN OPEN UNIVERSITY.  YOU WILL AGREE WITH ME THAT IT REQUIRES A PERSON WITH YOUR PERSONAL ATTRIBUTES, PROFICIENCY AND QUALIFICATIONS TO ENSURE THAT YOU PROVIDE POLICY DIRECTION TO THE UNIVERSITY FOR IT TO MEET ITS STRATEGIC VISION.

THE IMPACT THAT THE ZAMBIAN OPEN UNIVERSITY HAS MADE ON THE PEOPLE OF ZAMBIA CANNOT BE UNDERESTIMATED.  YOU REACH OUT TO ALL CORNERS OF THE COUNTRY.  EVEN THOUGH YOU ARE A YOUNG UNIVERSITY, YOU HAVE ATTRACTED TO YOUR RANKS HIGH QUALITY STAFF WHO HAVE MADE THIS UNIVERSITY ATTRACTIVE TO MANY PROSPECTIVE STUDENTS.

ANOTHER SOURCE OF PLEASURE TO ME IS THE FACT THAT THIS IS AN INDIGENOUS UNIVERSITY THAT HAS DEVELOPED FROM SCRATCH AND IS NOW STANDING ON ITS FEET WITHOUT MUCH FINANCIAL SUPPORT FROM GOVERNMENT. IT IS ONLY DRIVEN BY THE WILL TO SUCCEED. WHAT YOU HAVE ACHIEVED IN FOUR YEARS IS REMARKABLE AND SOMETHING THAT SHOULD BE EMULATED BY OTHERS.

LADIES AND GENTLEMEN,

GOVERNMENT HAS PLACED EDUCATION AS A HIGH PRIORITY FOR ALL OUR SOCIO-ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT.  IT IS EDUCATION THAT CAN FACILITATE ZAMBIA TO ATTAIN A STATUS OF A MIDDLE INCOME COUNTRY BY THE YEAR 2030.  A COUNTRY LIKE ZAMBIA NEEDS TO DEVELOP ITS HUMAN CAPITAL AS A CATALYST FOR DEVELOPMENT.

TO THIS END, I WOULD LIKE TO SEE OUR UNIVERSITIES PROVIDING RELEVANT AND QUALITY EDUCATION WITH APPROPRIATE SKILLS FOR OUR NATIONAL DEVELOPMENT.  LET US MOVE FROM THE TYPE OF EDUCATION THAT IS UNABLE TO MEET OUR ASPIRATIONS.

LADIES AND GENTLEMEN,

OUR WORLD IS DYNAMIC AND ZAMBIA SHOULD BE ABLE TO PARTICIPATE IN THE ACTIVITIES OF THE GLOBAL VILLAGE.  THE DISPENSATION OF EMBRACING THE USE OF INFORMATION COMMUNICATION TECHNOLOGY THROUGH THE OPTIC FIBRE NETWORK IN ZAMBIA SHOULD FACILITATE FASTER AND IMPROVED COMMUNICATION AND, IN TURN, ENHANCE YOUR INTERACTION WITH YOUR STUDENTS.  THIS WILL BE DONE TO ENSURE THAT STUDY MATERIALS REACH YOUR STUDENTS ON TIME.

THE PHILOSOPHY OF YOUR UNIVERSITY – ‘A UNIVERSITY WITHOUT WALLS’ IS WELL ARTICULATED TO MEAN EVERYONE HAS ACCESS TO UNIVERSITY EDUCATION REGARDLESS OF WHERE THEY ARE LIVING. THEREFORE, THE PROVISION OF UNIVERSITY EDUCATION THROUGH LONG DISTANCE LEARNING HAS PROVIDED A SOLUTION TO A LONG-STANDING CHALLENGE BECAUSE, NOW, MORE SCHOOL LEAVERS CAN ACCESS UNIVERSITY EDUCATION.

LADIES AND GENTLEMEN,

MY GOVERNMENT HAS PUT IN PLACE ENABLING POLICIES THAT ALLOW INDIVIDUALS AND ORGANIZATIONS TO SET UP EDUCATIONAL INSTITUTIONS WITHOUT ANY DIFFICULTIES.  CURRENTLY, THE GOVERNMENT IS ENCOURAGING THE CONCEPT OF PUBLIC PRIVATE PARTNERSHIP WHICH SHOULD BE A PLATFORM OF OUR ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT.

IT IS A MEANS THROUGH WHICH CITIZENS CAN PARTICIPATE EFFECTIVELY IN THE ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT OF OUR COUNTRY.  AT THE SAME TIME, I WOULD LIKE TO SEE MEASURES PUT IN PLACE THAT WILL ENSURE THAT THERE IS QUALITY ASSURANCE IN ALL OUR INSTITUTIONS, INCLUDING UNIVERSITIES.  IN THE RECENT PAST, THE COUNTRY HAS SEEN THE FLOURISHING OF MANY PRIVATE UNIVERSITIES WHICH NEED TO BE REGULATED AND CONTROLLED.

I THEREFORE, DIRECT THE MINISTRY OF EDUCATION TO COME UP WITH LEGISLATION TO ENFORCE ADHERENCE TO THE REQUIRED STANDARDS. WE NEED TO STRIVE TO MAKE OUR UNIVERSITIES BECOME INSTITUTIONS OF EXCELLENCE.  ZAMBIA IS A LANDLOCKED COUNTRY BUT WE CAN TURN THIS POSITION INTO AN ADVANTAGE BY BEING LAND-LINKED.

LADIES AND GENTLEMEN,

MY GOVERNMENT, THROUGH THE MINISTRY OF EDUCATION, IN ITS QUEST TO UPLIFT THE STANDARDS OF EDUCATION IN OUR LEARNING INSTITUTIONS, HAS COMMENCED THE PROCESS OF FINALIZING THE NATIONAL QUALIFICATION AND ACCREDITATION FRAMEWORK. THIS PROCESS WILL LEAD TO THE ESTABLISHING OF THE HIGHER EDUCATION AUTHORITY THAT WILL REGULATE QUALITY ASSURANCE FOR TERTIARY INSTITUTION IN THE COUNTRY.

LADIES AND GENTLEMEN

IT IS IMPERATIVE TO MAKE OUR EDUCATION SYSTEM COMPARABLE BUT MATCHING OUR STANDARDS TO THOSE OF OTHER COUNTRIES IN THE REGION AND BEYOND.  THE APPRECIATION OF ANY EDUCATION SYSTEM DEPENDS ON HOW RELEVANT IT IS TO MEET THE ASPIRATIONS OF ITS PEOPLE.

EDUCATION IS A PILLAR THAT SHOULD DRIVE ECONOMIC SUCCESS.  THE IMPROVED TRENDS WE HAVE NOTED IN OUR ECONOMY SHOULD BE COMPLEMENTED BY THE RIGHT CALIBRE OF HUMAN RESOURCE.  WE NEED ENGINEERS, SCIENTISTS AND MANY OTHER PROFESSIONALS TO FACILITATE ZAMBIA’S MOVE TO ATTAIN THE VISION 2030.

I AM PROUD TO ATTEST TO THE FACT THAT ZAMBIA HAS MADE TREMENDOUS PROGRESS IN THE PROVISION OF EDUCATION IN THE RECENT PAST.  THIS TREND SHOULD BE ENCOURAGED. I AM ALSO HAPPY TO MENTION THAT GOVERNMENT’S BUDGET ALLOCATION TO EDUCATION HAS BEEN IMPROVING.  IT IS MY GOVERNMENT’S DESIRE TO INVEST MORE IN EDUCATION SO THAT WE CAN ALSO EXPORT SOME OF OUR HUMAN RESOURCE.

LADIES AND GENTLEMEN,

AS MENTIONED EARLIER, WE ARE HERE TO WITNESS THE GRADUATION OF OUR STUDENTS AT THE ZAMBIAN OPEN UNIVERSITY.   IT IS A LANDMARK ACHIEVEMENT AND I WOULD LIKE TO COMMEND THE LECTURERS OF THE ZAMBIAN OPEN UNIVERSITY FOR THEIR TIRELESS EFFORT TO ESTABLISH A UNIVERSITY EVEN AMIDST INSURMOUNTABLE CHALLENGES.

I AM SURE IT WAS THROUGH HARD WORK AND DEDICATION THAT WE ARE HERE WITNESSING THIS OCCASION. AT THE SAME TIME, I WOULD LIKE TO THANK THE GRADUATING STUDENTS IN VARIOUS DISCIPLINES FOR YOUR DETERMINATION TO PURSUE YOUR STUDIES IN DIFFICULT CIRCUMSTANCES. YOU HAVE MADE IT TODAY AND IT WAS NOT AN EASY ROAD TO TRAVEL. CONGRATULATIONS TO YOU ALL!

ALLOW ME ALSO TO THANK ALL THOSE WHO WORKED TIRELESSLY TO SEE THE SUCCESS OF THIS EVENT

LADIES AND GENTLEMEN

FINALLY, I FEEL HONOURED TO BESTOW UPON PROFESSOR FRANCIS YAMBA, THE RARE HONOUR OF BEING THE FIRST CHANCELLOR OF THE ZAMBIAN OPEN UNIVERSITY. THIS IS AN HONOUR OF RECOGNITION OF YOUR CONTRIBUTION TO THE ADVANCEMENT OF ENGINEERING SCIENCE.

AS A DISTINGUISHED SON OF THE SOIL, I URGE YOU TO CONTINUE ADVANCING KNOWLEDGE TOGETHER WITH YOUR CONTEMPORARIES WHO WILL LOOK UP TO YOU FOR CEREMONIAL AND PRACTICAL LEADERSHIP. MY OFFICE IS OPEN TO YOU FOR CONSULTATIONS ON AFFAIRS OF THIS UNIVERSITY.

MAY GOD BLESS YOU ALL.

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