By Tikondane Vega
President Professor Peter Mutharika says innovativeness and entrepreneurship is the best option to promoting socio-economic development of the country.
Mutharika who is also the Chancellor of the Malawi University of Science and Technology (MUST) made the remarks on Tuesday when he presided over the first cohort of the college at the school campus in Thyolo.
He said some of the challenges that Malawi is facing could easily be addressed if people adopt innovative skills to bring solutions to such problems.
“We need to change our mindset and develop strategies which could easily benefit our country. Progressive reasoning is important whenever we need to change some things. Let me commend MUST for championing entrepreneurship and innovation in its programs,” said Mutharika.
Mutharika said MUST has achieved a lot since it was established five years ago, citing the establishment of research centres and state-of-the-art laboratories, among others.
He, therefore, commended various stakeholders both local and international for working hand-in-hand with MUST through provision of scholarships and other necessary support to enable the University realize its goal of promoting academic excellence.
“It is through this unity that the school is able to unleash talent and enable students to start believing in themselves. I, therefore, urge the graduating students to use their entrepreneurial and innovative skills to bring change to the world,” he added.
Chairperson of the Council of MUST, Dr. Andrew Daudi concurred with the president that the college is not leaving any stone unturned in providing quality education to people of Malawi.
Daudi said although the University is new, it has learnt a lot from sister public university colleges like University of Malawi in bringing quality academic services in areas of research, entrepreneurship and innovation.
“We have developed a five-year strategic plan for our operations. This is a framework that is enabling our institution to realize fast growth in all areas of financial, discipline and hard work. The school now has 2073 students from 150 when it was opening five years ago.
“Our plan is to have 5000 students by 2022. Besides, the staffing of the institution has increased from less than 20 to 248,” Daudi said.
Daudi, therefore, thanked government for addressing water challenges that had been daunting the institution for a long period of time.
“The Mulanje – Likhubula piped water scheme has really assisted us a lot in ensuring that the taps do not go dry. However, we are appealing to government to assist in constructing staff houses as some of the lecturers travel from as far as Blantyre and Zomba,” he said.
MUST Vice Chancellor, Professor Address Malata said with the first congregation, the school is committed to ensuring excellence knowing the tough competition in the world, adding that the institution shall endeavour to be competitive and raise the stakes higher to meet international standards.
Malata said MUST is aiming to be a global player through high impact research, excellent teaching and outreach innovation built on a strong technological platform.
MUST was established by Malawi’s third president, late Professor Bingu wa Mutharika as part of his dream of turning Malawi from a predominantly importing to consuming nation to one that produces and exports.
In Bingu’s vision, this could only be achieved if Malawi developed a human resource base with the right and essential skills coupled with sound knowledge to carry out the needed transformation.
In this case, increasing access to higher education and focusing on science and technology were considered as some of the means to achieving the goal.
The graduation attracted 195 pioneer students who graduated with bachelor’s and masters’ degrees, diplomas, post graduate diplomas and certificates.