MEMORY MANINGA, Lusaka
AFTER 10 years of hard work and determination, the University of Lusaka (UNILUS) is this year celebrating its 10th anniversary.
The university, which started as an affiliate to the Copperbelt University under the leadership of its vice chancellor, Professor Pinalo Chifwanakeni, started out with only four full-time employees and a handful of students.
UNILUS has grown over the years and now caters for over 300 employees on both full-time and part-time employment. The student population at the learning institution has also grown from 71 to 6,000 students.
The university offers a wide range of programmes ranging from bachelors, masters and doctoral programmes on full-time, part-time and distance learning.
“UNILUS provides a wide range of programmes in the school of business and management, law, health sciences and education, social sciences and technology.
“The university also has the school of postgraduate studies which offers masters and doctorate programmes that are internationally recognised.
“UNILUS has highly qualified lecturers offering these programmes in two semesters – January and June intake,” states the UNILUS website.
Last week, the university celebrated its fifth graduation ceremony under the theme ‘A decade of providing quality education anchored on creativity, innovation and entrepreneurship for wealth creation’.
1,137 students graduated at the event. But prior to this, about 1,451 students had already graduated from the university with six graduating with doctorates.
Mwaba Mupango was among the graduands at the recent graduation and she applauded the institution for its dedication to offering quality education.
Ms Mupango was among the outstanding students graduating with a distinction in the school of health sciences.
“On behalf of my fellow graduands, I would like to commend the management and staff of the University of Lusaka for the good job they are doing in ensuring that quality education is offered to the students.
“Though it has been tough, through strict and tight guidance from our lecturers, we are here today graduating, we are now ready to add value to our country’s growth and of course even add value across the borders,” Ms Mupango said.
In line with the university’s motto, which states, “Passion for quality education our driving force”, UNILUS acknowledges the gap that exists in the education sector, thus its focus to produce graduates that are prepared to face life after they have graduated.
Professor Chifwanakeni said during the ceremony that this is the reason why the institution has taken an approach of combining intrapreneurship and entrepreneurship programmes in its curriculum.
The approach is intended to better prepare graduates for life’s challenges.
“The establishment of the University of Lusaka is the evidence of wealth creation because of its small beginning. From four employees to now 300 employees and 6,000 students, this university has tremendously grown.
“Our focus is not only about growing the school; we are also focused on ensuring that the graduates we produce are people that can add value to the country’s development and economic growth.
“Our approach therefore has always emphasised on integrating intrapreneurship and entrepreneurship in our curriculum to better prepare our graduates for life’s challenges,” Professor Chifwanakeni said.
UNILUS currently operates from two campuses located along Alick Nkhata Road and Leopards Hill road. In order to create space for more students, last year the university embarked on the construction of a new campus in Lusaka’s Silverest area.
The modern campus being constructed will house a sports complex, a medical centre, lecture rooms and a conference centre.
UNILUS Chancellor, Caleb Fundanga, says it is important for any private and public learning institution to ensure that they offer an education that is relevant to the needs of the country as well as the region.
Dr Fundanga notes that students should receive quality education that translates into tangible results that will reflect even in their workplaces.
“It is important to ensure that our students, both in the private and public learning institutions, receive an education that will translate into tangible results even as they graduate and start working.
“But in order to achieve this, the education system in our country should focus more on practical training, relevant information and knowledge exchange that is industry-based,” Dr Fundanga said.
Dr Fundanga however praises the standard of tertiary education that UNILUS is providing to its students.
He advised the graduates to think outside the box and challenge traditional practices as well as conventional methods with the intellect they have acquired while at the institution.
“Dear graduands, as you go out into the world, remember that you have been taught to think outside the box. You must challenge the traditional and conventional methods with your intellect.
“Use the knowledge you have gained to be more creative, innovative and enterprising,” he added.
Secretary to the Cabinet, Ronald Msiska, was guest of honour at this year’s graduation ceremony.
When gracing the event, Dr Msiska acknowledged the institution’s efforts to provide quality education to its learners.
He said it is impressive that the programmes UNILUS is offering are tailored to bring out creativity in the students.
Dr Msiska added that other than memorising what has been taught, the students are endowed with the ability to probe during assignments so that they can dream beyond.
“To be creative, a person must possess the ability to dream beyond and make the dream a reality. UNILUS students are in a good position to attain this because the programmes being offered at the school give them ability to probe as they do their assignments other than merely memorising what has been taught,” Dr Msiska said.
In the last decade, UNILUS has also engaged with various institutions in communities to render its corporate social responsibility.
The university has supported church organisations financially as well as materially.
The institution has also opened a legal clinic for surrounding communities under the school of law, and from time to time also engages in public health sensitisation campaigns in various communities.