KAMPALA —If education was a mirror of a society, then this audience before us is the real world: Among us there are students who aspire to be someone in life, the parents and guardians in the audience who support their dreams; the university being the sanctuary or call it the harbor of ALL those aspirations, and Leaders before us here who have guided and created an enabling environment to succeed!
Ladies and Gentlemen, you are the real world. I welcome you to the 6th Victoria University Graduation – The VU Grad Festival.
As your Vice chancellor I cannot ask for a better milestone than celebrating this with you! This is my proudest moment.
On behalf of the entire Management, University Council and our thoughtful Directors, we welcome our honoured graduands and congratulate you on completing one of life’s great events.
Dear students you have confirmed that the decision we took to be brave and offer an education to transform lives was a WISE ONE!
When we decided to transform your learning environment we looked beyond the smartboard we have availed you. It wasn’t about the online teaching platforms that are convenient and allow you to enjoy education from wherever you are! Or the practical learning we continue to roll-out.
Our AMBITION was and still is to share the real world with you; the world where you are the drivers and not the passengers. The World where you are not the led, but rather leaders in every right! The kind where you are the torch bearers!
Dear graduands fulfil those aspirations
To deliver on our higher education promise, we teach you an experience and not texts because we are certain you have several gadgets at your disposal!
Our practical exams are a departure from the traditions. At your convenience, you sit exams, with every learning material at your disposal and open to freely interact but not Xerox!
Students bear me witness; Is that not the case?
To be clear, we don’t do that to make it easy for you…but we rather want you to challenge the facts, confront them with what is known and shape an own future based on actual realities and not assumptions.
You our brave VU graduands, you deserve a huge round of applause…….
This is a day I hope will remain with you forever. Each of you have accomplished something extraordinary: your graduation is a milestone reached and a dream achieved. It’s a combination of numerous challenges faced and obstacles overcome.
Today’s milestone represents an unprecedented level of dedication, persistence, creativity and resilience. And for that, we congratulate and celebrate you.
At this moment in history, the world has a hunger for a resource like you: one unafraid of new challenges, one with the tenacity to surmount the insurmountable; one with the foresight to anticipate the unforeseeable; one with the flexibility to adapt the world & NOT TO IT; one with the commitment to persist no matter the task, and one who has shown us – ‘the only way to go is forward’.
Continue going FORWARD after here…the country OWES you for the change it yarns.
The education you’ve received here at Victoria University has equipped you well, for such a task.
And to those aspiring to walk in your enviable shoes, we continue to challenge the learning outcomes. Dear Parents and Guardians we have introduced nine new programmes to enrich the education we roll out here and some of our new arrivals include:
o Bachelor Science in International Oil and Gas Management
o Bachelor of Science in Software Engineering
o Bachelor of Pharmacy
o Master of Science in Cyber Security – this speaks to your cyber safety today
o Master of Science in Blockchain and Financial Technologies – 1st in East Africa
o Master of Science in Health Informatics
o Master of Science in Computer Science
o Master of Science in Health Safety and Environment Management – 1st in Uganda
o Master of Laws (Six Specializations) – Natural Resources Law, Construction and Engineering Law, Criminology, Penology and Criminal Justice, Media, Mass Communication and Journalism, Sports and Entertainment Law & LLM General.
Such landmarks could have stayed as mere aspirations but thanks to the endeavors of our VU teaching & non-teaching staff. They deserve your resounding applause….
I have important statistics to share with you all:
As we speak, many of you have already changed the course of history. In today’s graduating class, 12% of you are the first in your family to earn a university degree. We extend a special congratulations to you all.
Your average age is 27 years old, the youngest among you is 20 and the oldest is 59.
No matter your differences, here at Victoria University you find an equalizer
In the audience, 60% of you are female. The average time to earn your degree was three years and four months. So kudos to all of you all who committed to that process.
Among you is a graduate from Norway who travelled the farthest to join Victoria University. Mrs. Shamillah Svendsby travelled about 11103 km if you chose to drive or 6874 km if you fly, to come and study at Victoria University. Shamillah thank you for choosing VU.
Thank you, all those who traveled great distances to be here.
The differences among you, yet defined by a singular education purpose, is a reminder we are an inclusive and a University of international measure. Indeed we’re the University of YOU!
Mr. Chancellor and our dear parents, the decision we took to adjust to the growing technology trends is already paying dividends; our learning platform is not just the best orderly experience, it has now become the benchmark for other universities to model their learning platforms. In that regard, our students are already miles ahead.
We took those bold steps because you trusted us to transform your child to have an age and awareness of contemporary needs.
This has not come without its limitations: we faced opposition, criticisms, at times even doubt but we believed in the change we took and it has yielded: There is evidence for it: I can comfortably stress ‘We are already ahead of global targets’:
The World Bank 2021 feasibility study to connect all African higher education institutions to high-speed Internet has a target of at least 2 Gbps per 1000 students by 2025, and at least 20 Gbps per 1000 students by 2030. At Victoria University, we boost the highest internet connectivity already. We will not wait for 2025, or 2030. My promise is we will be able to reach that mark earlier than any university in the land and across the region!
Dear parents, on that, we are ahead of time in IT compliance and advancement.
The World Bank says these targets allow students and teachers of higher education access to global research and education resources at par with the rest of the world. When you enroll here our e-books and e-material accessed on all learning platforms has placed our students at the top end of world demands and our students will be there to harvest and grab.
Parents, your children are without doubt not lacking in opportunities.
This is part of the Digital Economy for Africa according to the World Bank.
All our programmes taught in our faculties incorporate the Digital economy to fine tune our students to forge out opportunities through internet. We are moving at a level that makes our students the yardstick for domestic and global standards.
Such transformations have not been forced on us, it has come through careful study of the environment to understand the needs and our openness to domestic regulation.
Our investments in ICT has an eye on the ministry of Education Digital Agenda Strategy 2021-2025 to integrate ICT into teaching, learning, assessment, sports and administration.
We made an oath to uplift domestic priorities.
Our education honorable minister is already embracing the five objective areas in that agenda: ICT coverage and connectivity, promote research and innovation, leveraging on emerging technologies.
You still have doubt a future ready workforce begins at Victoria University?
Honourable Minister, that notwithstanding our appetite is still large.
As leaders in the education of change makers, we have gone further. Our hands on learning, and practical learning have redefined the course of education. With experiential learning and work-integrated learning in their midst, our students have a commanding position in society: Those adjustments have enabled us take our class to the industry and the industry to our classes: In Science and IT, we have engineered innovations and advanced solutions; In Business we have answered the call to create wealth, opportunities and wellbeing; in Humanities and social sciences our programmes have enlarged the scope of human social development; In Health Science, we have evolved healthcare and awareness.
In that, we continue to address the Human Capital development gap.
Mr. Chancellor, Honourable Minister and Parents, by addressing Human Capital we have answered the call made in the National Development Plan (NDP) 11 and NDP 111.
We are WITH OUT DOUBT the stewards of NDP motives to deliver Vision 2040.
We will continue to run the country’s race and keep an eye on the world beyond our scope.
Honourable minister, we have run our race but we need your hand to run the next mile.
In reconciling with the national agenda, however, we have constantly run into a ceiling: Access to Education data is limiting our possibilities. We make an emphatic call for education data to become a public good. Such a prospect will give students and the country a competitive edge. With such a breakthrough, our locals can be active players in the global market place, and guess what? Also enjoy overseas jobs without leaving the country.
The tax burden has strained our capacity to continuously commit resources to advantage the nation’s children.
Hon. Minister you have wisely guided in the past to factor in tax exemptions but that process is yet to have a seamless conclusion.
We seek your input to Subsidize on ICT facilitators or if you so wish, waive the levy.
Honourable Minister, gaps sensitization and civic strength continue to suffocate the transformations. It is our humble view to scale up advocacy in ICT coverage to generate national support and concern.
Honourable Minister, to accommodate our growing aspirations, our Directors revamped our infrastructure. Our extension at Market Plaza on Market Street has enlarged our possibilities.
Since our last graduation, the classroom coverage has expanded close to 20 new ultra-modern physical learning areas. We have diversified our library with another branch, and Computer labs built to immerse the metaverse. Additionally we have setup a state-of-the-art Moot Court that benchmarks international standards – all this is done to advantage our Law students.
With knowledge that we live in a Digital Economy, and that we live in the 4th Industrial Revolution, all of which require tapping into existing technologies of our time, we took the transformative decision to invest in the creation of several students learning centers including:
(1) The Career and Employability Center: To prepare our students with skills and competencies relevant for the 21 century, especially soft skills.
(2) The Center for Innovation and Virtual Reality Learning – to prepare our students for a technology-driven world dominated by digital literacies.
In our midst, a functioning HUB and we call it the Centre for Innovation and Virtual Reality Learning where solutions for the world are incubated. In the HUB, student’s innovations are baked into opportunities for intellectual property.
Many of our students are already entrepreneurs while others have clarity on their career direction in desired fields.
I am confident our students are ready to create wealth and opportunities for this nation.
Honorable Minister, that outlook of education is already embracing the five objective areas in the Digital Strategy Agenda, which are: ICT coverage and connectivity, promote research and innovation, leveraging on emerging technologies.
A future ready workforce begins at Victoria University.
We continue to demonstrate our dedication to transformations.
We have strengthened linkages with industry players:
Ruparelia Group of companies constituting over 40 companies.
Our Stanbic Bank relationship has expanded students work placements and access to laptops.
MTN Uganda has become our major contributor of education data – thanks to them our LMS (VCLASS) can be accessed by students even without data.
Next Media Services has played a fundamental role in our growth as a university and has continued to graciously grant experiential learning opportunities to our students.
Vision Group is also another important partner that is making our growth journey possible, they are a voice to us but most importantly a provider of experiential learning opportunities to our students.
These associations guarantee practical learning for our students in the best places to experience them.
As we continue to dream and expand our horizons, our teaching and non-teaching staff deserve the biggest cheers.
Since the previous graduation the staffing has improved by 88%. That upgrade has enabled us to consolidate our position as the pre-eminent Transformative University.
Mr. Chancellor, we owe a debt of gratitude to our staff who have helped us dream. We do not take it for granted.
Our aspirations are broad and have taken us this far, but we remind ourselves that this position is not our destiny but to be an International Outfit. To fully claim our international footing, we have to become a university driven by STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) and to achieve that feasible dream, the following is important:
? Investment in high performance labs and ultra-modern facilities is inevitable if not urgent.
? Instituting high performance Mass Media Studios will light a digital revolution, enrich content creation for staff and provide our students with an opportunity to access training that mirrors the real world of media trends.
To amass national confidence in agro industry, we envision establishing an agro institute of international repute to improve research based agriculture.
Our vision on the hospitality industry is broad (to create a facility to host- Hotelier, tourism and recreation) with that, Victoria university will in turn stamp a mark as the centre of the working industry.
With our expanding possibilities we are left with no option but host those aspirations in a place we call home, and conducive to hold those aspirations.
Capital cities are arguably the education pulse of nation states and transcend beyond borders to attain International standpoint.
At Victoria University, we hold the baton as the country’s transformers and world’s player. For us to be a legitimate International skipper, we view the institution in the heartland (The Capital of the country) where we shall call home.
And without hesitation I say –our fortunes will not remain the same.
These horizons continue to expand for us.
Parents, this year we hand you the CHARTER in instilling more faith that ‘THIS IS THE TRUSTED PLACE TO SEAL YOUR CHILD’S FUTURE’
It was a mark of endorsement from the Highest Office that our service meets regional, continental and world standards.
Hon. Minister, please convey our gratitude to his Excellency-The President of the Republic of Uganda, Yoweri Kaguta Museveni.
The Charter, has cemented our International acknowledgement. Parents your son or daughter’s credential has international approval.
Establishment of a Doctoral College has also taken off thanks to the acquisition of Charter. Our strategic position in national affairs has widened and our philosophy as ‘change makers’ continues to be consolidated.
Investment in change is what we know best – Because we are the University of You!
Finally Graduands, on this memorable day, I encourage you all to always remember this milestone as proof of your dedication and no doubt the course of your own history will never be the same, and you are ready to influence future generations.
THANK YOU for allowing all of us at Victoria University to play a part in the fulfillment of your DREAM.
It has been truly our honor. God bless you!
Dr. Lawrence Muganga, is the Vice Chancellor, Victoria University, Kampala