UKZN lauded for its leadership in Africa
The quality of thinking and relevance of graduates’ knowledge will be compromised if not enough attention is paid to the development of indigenous knowledge and research capacity through post graduate work, said the Director of the Mauritius Institute of Education (MIE), Dr Oomandra Nath Varma.
‘Therein lies the very reason why we sought the assistance of your esteemed institution (UKZN). Your standing in South Africa and the continent, the international reputation of your staff, and the disposition of your leaders to establish UKZN as a key university in the region, have motivated our choice. We have not looked back ever since.’
Varma was speaking at the 2015 Graduation Ceremony of the College of Humanities.
He reminded students that graduation was not only a time to look back at how far they had come down the road of success, but also a time to examine how they were going to build on the past to be able to act in the future.
‘Every success achieved, great or small, is a stepping stone to reach higher. In partaking in your education. UKZN is not only equipping you with knowledge and skills, but is equally inspiring you to move beyond the narrow confines of professional and personal success to be able to see how the world needs you to think and act for others. Every good action you do, however insignificant it may seem to you, is worth the effort,’ he said.
Varma advised graduates to keep abreast of cutting edge knowledge as this ensured legitimacy [for them] as professionals. ‘For teachers especially, this means maintaining over an entire lifespan an open channel through activities of continuous development. The knowledge developed through the course is not only meant to make you functional, but equally to provide you with the intellectual leverage to examine the conditions of your practice and to critique the latter.’
He touched on the partnership between MIE and UKZN saying it was based on respect, friendship and a desire to promote African scholarship.
‘It has been carefully nurtured for almost a decade now by staff and leaders of your institution who envisioned the mutually enriching benefits to be derived from engaging with peers from somewhat different backgrounds.
‘I admire the courage of people at the university, the intellectuals, the level of graduates, the careful generosity with which resources are allocated to support students, research and community service. There are many good practices from UKZN which I feel, other higher education institutes can adopt and customise to achieve their own mission.
‘At the MIE, we have adapted some of these practices, and they are serving us well. We do hope that in time, we will be in a position to contribute, even in a small way, to your institution, through the scholarship of our PhD candidates,’ he added.
In his closing remarks to the graduates, Varma said: ‘Allow me on behalf of the organisation I proudly represent today, the Mauritius Institute of Education, to offer my very warm congratulations to you, to your loved ones who have supported you along this exciting journey, and to your teachers, who have plodded along with you through the ups and downs.
‘I salute your endurance, your spirit and I wish you the very best for a long and rewarding career in education. Moreover, may I also thank UKZN for its hospitality and friendship.”