Making An Educated Nation: Speech Delivered By President Mutharika During Luanar’s Graduation Ceremony
Let me begin with the deepest expression of my pride in you.
Today, you are the conquerors. You have walked to the top of your academic path. You have come to the top of your conquest.
But, as Nelson Mandela reminds us: “After climbing a great hill, one only finds that there are many more hills to climb.” The end of your university days is only the beginning of another journey, another life.
As you face the reality ahead of you, remember: it is not what your degree can do for you; but what you can do with your degree. True education is not in what we know; but what we can do with what we know.This is what the industry expects. Henry Ford puts it moreprecisely:“A man’s college and university degrees mean nothing to me until I see what he is able to do with them”.It is up to you to prove that you are employable.
However, this country needs graduates who can create jobs as well as occupy jobs. I would like therefore to challenge the University to develop students who can become entrepreneurs and future business leaders. We need graduates who can aggressively participate in our direct investment program.
We are mobilizing investors because we want to expand the private sector and create more jobs. For a long time, Malawi has been a country with a big Government and a small private sector. I want to change that! It must be the other way round. Therefore, we must all be poised to take our positions in that new setup.
Today, everyone finishes education and thinks of being employed. But if everyone waited to be employed by someone else, there would be no one to employ others.
Let me tell you a story about three people. Their names were Everyone, Someone and Noone.
Everyone wanted Someone to employ them;
Everyone forgot that there is Noonecalled Someone;
In the end, Nooneemployed Everyone.
So, you have been trained to think like no one. You are the one to think of employing everyone.
You have walked from a university that was founded on a great idea. We founded this university in order to create an elite of technical experts in Agriculture and natural resources. Remember – our national prosperity depends on how we think and how we use the natural resources that God gave us. And Malawi is rich country, although we are poor.
You have a special place in the development of this country. But let me remind you that the world you are about to join values hardwork and integrity. You must earn your place in society. Above all, go out there and make a difference.
You are never too young to make a difference. As we proverbially say, if you think you are too small to make a difference, think of what a mosquito can do! Every Malawian can make a difference, and we all can make Malawi a great nation.
Ladies and Gentlemen,
Let us agree on one thing. We can only change this country if we are ready to change ourselves. We demand transformation but we don’t want change – we don’t want to do things differently. Some reforms in education are facing resistance because we want transformation without change. Every change my Government brings means well in the end. Some changes are painful but necessary.
I am aware that some universities are now in a state of closure. Part of the reason of this situation is our resistance to reforms, resistance to change. When I came to lead this country, we promised to do business unusual; we promised to think outside the box.And that is my expectation from every Malawian.
We cannot improve the quality of education by financing it the same way we have financed it for the last fifty years. We must remember, as Albert Einstein says, “We cannot solve our problems with the same thinking we used when we created them.” We must change the way we think! We must change the way we do things.
Our university education will never change unless we change our culture of thinking! The essence of education is to change how we think. Therefore, we all expect the University to be the first place for championing and accepting change.
The University is the highest place of learning in the world. Everything is expected to be of the highest quality – the best thinkers; the best thinking; and the best conduct. As graduates, we expect you to be the best in whatever you do, because you are the products of the best. This is the challenge I make to everyone here and beyond.
Ladies and Gentlemen, let me also emphasise the need for good management and governance in universities. I know that some people are eager to point fingers at the Head of State and Chancellor for every problem that arises in the universities. I am the ultimate authority and I don’t mind. But we must remember the principles of good governance. The governance of every university is done by the Council and its Management. We have empowered them by Law to govern the universities on behalf of the Government.And I do not expect everything to come to me. I expect the Council and management to do what is required of them.
And to every Chairperson of Council and Vice Chancellor, let me say this. Malawians expect you to be visibly active in managing your university on behalf of Government. More so in times of crisis!
On management of resources, I expect three principles:
One – efficiency!
Two – efficiency!
And three – efficiency!
According to the report by The International Commission on Financing Global Education, the Government of Malawi is financing education far much better than most countries in the world. One challenge is our efficient use of resources. Please, manage your human and financial resources efficiently.
Let me announce that the Global Education Commission has identified Malawi to be one the first countries to implement the global education financing programme.
Our goal is to create The Learning Generation in the next 25 years or so. This is the process which the developed world undertook seventy years ago. Now, our turn has come! This is the opportunity I bring to my country as one of the five Co-conveners of the Global Education Commission. Therefore, more than ever, we will pursue our homegrown policies and plans to their conclusion. I expect a better future for my country, a better Malawi for you and I.
Thank you for listening!
May God Bless You all.