Vice president Dr. Saulos Chilima on Saturday unveiled the Jubilee University in Lilongwe by stressing the importance of quality higher education to national development.
“For Malawi to effectively win the battle against poverty, unemployment, and over-population, one of the major strategies to adopt is to ensure the improvement of both quality and accessibility of higher education,” Chilima said.
He said the university will go a long way in contributing to the country’s national development through quality education.
During the unveiling ceremony, the vice president also paid homage to the University’s founder late Justice Maxon Mbendera whom he described as a symbol of selfless humanity.
“It is my expectation that the Jubilee University will truly reflect the class and character of the man that Justice Mbendera SC was.
“Justice Mbendera SC believed in an education that was complete, premised on educating the whole being; the head (intellect), the heart (values and attitude) and the hand (competence),” Chilima said.
He added that these principles relate closely to the values of patriotism, integrity and hard work that the current government promotes.
The event was also organized to simultaneously cerebrate and honor the life of the late Justice Mbendera.
At the time of his death on August 18, 2016, Justice Mbendera was judge of the Supreme Court of Appeal and chairperson of the Malawi Electoral Commission and he died without seeing his dream of opening the University fulfilled.
“As we celebrate his life today, I am proud to say that late Justice Mbendera was a shining example of what a lawyer, a judge, public servant ought to be: competent and courageous.
“He was tenacious and tough, brave and dedicated, yet understanding and compassionate to those who needed a helping hand” the vice president said.
However, Chilima was quick to point out that despite losing such an important person, the country will continue to benefit from Justice Mbendera’s legacy through Jubilee University.
Co-founder of the University Dr. Ida Mbendera said everything is set in terms of learning and teaching facilities for classes to commence.
“What remains now is inspection of the National Council for Higher Education on August 31 for accreditation,” Dr. Mbendera, wife to the late Justice, said.
She said the university will only be offering two key undergraduate programmes in Commerce and Public Sector Administration with a target of 200 to 300 students only in the first year.
Dr. Mbendera said Jubilee University will forever be the legacy of her late husband.
“It was his dream. In fact he is the one who designed most of the structures here together with other people. This was the centre of his heart and was to be the next phase of his life as part of his contribution to this country,” she said.
Several other people also paid homage to the late Mbendera.
These included the Chief Secretary to government Lloyd Muhara, Inkosi ya Makosi Gomani V, Amos Mbendera representing the deceased family and Kamudoni Nyasulu who represented friends of the late Justice Mbendera.