Sunday, May 26, 2024
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Graduands smoke-out ‘sleepy’ Mzuzu University Management: Responds to Graduation Concerns 

Barely forty-eight hours after some former Mzuzu University students wrote a powerfully worded scathing letter to the Council and Management of the University through the Vice Chancellor Professor Wales Singini on the “institutional mediocrity and managerial incompetence” over delayed conduction of graduation ceremony, the University has come out of its cacoon and has since issued a response to save face.

In a press release released on Friday, the University said “wishes to inform all students, who completed their studies within the 2023/24 Academic Year, and the general public that it has revised plans for its 26th Congregation. The plan was to have two sessions as follows: a) 26th Congregation Session A:17th May, 2024; and b) 26th Congregation Session B: 13th December, 2024,” reads the statement in part.

The statement continued:

“Senate will meet on 15th May 2024 to determine the revised date for the Session A of the 26th Congregation,” adding that “the University will issue an appropriate announcement regarding the new date once Senate has considered the matter and consulted with the University Council so that all stakeholders are given reasonable time to prepare for this important event.”

In the open letter full of bellicose rhetoric, the students expressed their feelings clearly that they were “profoundly troubled by the significant delay in conducting the graduation ceremony for us students who have fulfilled all academic requirements last semester.”

The students argued that unlike other reputable institutions such as the University of Malawi, where graduation ceremonies are promptly held, their University has time and again failed to provide timely recognition to its graduating students.

Passionately argued the students:

“This delay has far-reaching consequences for us students. Without official documentation of our degrees, we are at a significant disadvantage in pursuing employment opportunities as well as scholarship opportunities. Employers prefer candidates who possess tangible proof of their qualifications, and the absence of a formal graduation ceremony to be conferred our degree certificates leaves us unable to compete effectively in the job market. Lately, we’ve observed our peers applying for positions at the Malawi Electoral Commission (MEC) and now they’re pursuing vacancies at ESCOM, among other employers. Meanwhile, we’re left to watch, knowing that no serious employer would give serious consideration to an application accompanied by a mere “to whom it may concern” letter when other candidates are submitting copies of their degree certificates. The peers in question are those from the University of Malawi who finished their studies around the same time as us. However, unlike us, their university promptly arranged graduation ceremonies, in fact on two consecutive days, for them while we are still left waiting unnecessarily.”

The students proceeded in exposing the incompetence and mediocrity that has bedevilled Mzuzu University Management.

“As stakeholders in our education and future prospects, we implore you [Mzuni Management] to take immediate action to address this issue. The university’s official calendar shows that the graduation ceremony was scheduled for May 17, 2024, just two weeks away. However, there has been no communication on this matter to date, suggesting that the prospect of a graduation on this date is now highly unlikely. Truth be told; this is hubris on your part and without fear of any contradiction, this disregard for students’ interests and aspirations is emblematic of institutional mediocrity and managerial incompetence.”

The students, who sounded more determined to leave no stone unturned to have the graduation ceremony conducted as soon as possible, issued a stern warning to those sleeping on the job at the University to act in the best interest of the Chakwera administration or risk being axed.

“We demand accountability and decisive leadership from the university administration. If necessary, we will escalate our concerns to the Chancellor, Dr. Lazarus Chakwera, to ensure that our voices are heard, rubble—if it pleases him—removed, and our rights upheld.”

The students concluded by reminding management of the University to always remember that the University is a public university not their own personal farm that they can do things as they please.

“In our well-considered view, it is imperative for you to recognize that Mzuzu University is a public institution, and that those entrusted with its stewardship inherently are duty-bound to prioritize the welfare of the Malawian people above all else. Should we give credence to the intel that you are pushing the opposition agenda with this unnecessary graduation delay to pit us youthful [students] voters against Chakwera on the road to 2025?,” concluded the soul-searching letter, with its echo reverberating and piercing the hearts of the alleged mediocre officials at the University as its substance resonated with the interests of the Chakwera administration as well as the majority Malawians who want the youth in the country to be productive and just be idle in their homes because of some officials’ hubris.

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