Limkokwing Botswana Graduation April 2014

Address by Vice President Dato Fajura Juffa on behalf of Tan Sri Dato’ Sri Paduka Dr Limkokwing, President of Limkokwing University of Creative Technology Worldwide at the April Convocation, Gaborone – 3 April 2014
1 May 2014

It is with great pleasure that the University celebrates that debut of this new cohort of creative professionals, who leave us with skills and knowledge aim at moving this beautiful nation of Botswana to a new era of creative and innovative excellences. We have absolute confidence that these graduates will do their nation proud in their new journey. Our confidence comes from the wonderful work of the community of Limkokwing alumni is charting as the shine in their new found careers. Through their efforts, we can see the change taking place within Botswana economic sector. Although already the creative economy has taken off to a great start and this country will find it is able to mine a new kind of diamond, one that is sustainable income generating and economy enriching. New enterprises have begun to sprout as the results of the confidence and knowledge our graduates have gained through their time at the University. Enterprises that were not there when this University started in 2007 with the promise to the Botswana Government that we will build the human capital the nation needs to achieve its vision for 2016.

In Botswana at that time that was only one University for the huge number of the youth graduating from higher school every year. At that time the National University could absorb only about 15,000 students and about 10,000 of the nation best and brightest students were send to overseas.

In a year an estimated 30,000 Botswana graduate from higher school, this meant that about 5,000 young Botswana were without resources to higher education and every year the numbers add up to huge segment of the population, without opportunity to build their skills.

To address these vacuum, Limkokwing University brought in associate degree programs that will relevant to creating job ready graduates, programs that were previously not offered in Botswana, programs that enable thousands of young Botswana to acquire a University education that had been beyond their reach all these years, programs that gave credent to their natural talents, programs that build skills badly needed to grow the industry.

Many people did not know that they could build careers in design, multimedia, music and communications. This country has a huge repository of talent. People here write, design, draw, compose, sing and dance beautifully but without avenue to build careers in creative sector because the industry have not matured to become a significant contributed to human resource development or to wealth generations.

In being here, this University expanded the education sector with the spin off the development that created opportunity for those in property, security, food and beverage, retail, cleaning services, furniture, electronic devices and benefited media such as newspapers, magazines, radio and outdoor.

In being here, this University provided a new vision for the education sector to transform Gaborone into a hub for regional education. Today young people from across Africa pursued their dreams through this University right here in Gaborone. The years 2007 and beyond had not been an easy journey for this University but it was a learning curve for both the University and the government and along the way, we both grew and changed.

Let me share with you some of the issue we face in maturing the education sector. Being new, government policies regarding foreign investors in education had not been adjusted to suit the global nature of this University. We needed to send faculty and staff from our campuses from in Kuala Lumpur and London to inspect the IT infrastructure we have created for both e-library and the computer labs, to train our academy staff in use of the new equipment and to understand the philosophy of this University. We had to send staff to document the journey through video capture and found that we have to apply for work permit for staff that were only here for a few days.

I remember the criticisms we face for hiring our own graduates to teach and we are still being reproach by the youthful quality by our faculty and staff. We have had to explain that this University is meant for the young who required digital expertise, who need to be web savvy, who need to respond to global challenges rapidly and accurately. Most of those who meet the standard of digital expertise tend to be young and they are the ones who help to manage this campus. Many are our alumni and most are now already in their 30’s. We applaud their dedication and through them, we have been able to successfully conduct knowledge and skills transfer to create for Botswana its own expertise in campus development.

This is an urgent need for Botswana to embrace change. There is an urgent need and change must be seen at all levels. In education we must bear in mind that the youth who come to us are born into a world that is so different from what we knew. They can’t imagine how we could have lived in a time when there were no hand phones. It is practically the dark ages for them.

Today we are happy to deliver to the Botswana Government, this new cohort who will undoubtedly become entrepreneurs in their own rights and those who enter the employment will enrich industries with their skills. To the graduating students, I wish to say this, while on campus you gained insight on how real world operates. I hope there were lessons that will serve you well when you begin your careers. I hope you have learned that what you do does make a difference to the outcome of anything that you are working on. You are important no matter what you do.

Today you will walk away with the credentials that testify to the learning you have gained. You will walk away with credential from a University that has expose you to a learning ecosystem that has made you a creative person, a thinking individual, a talented person who will bring to the industry to society, to this country, knowledge that is important in the competitive world that we are in today. Today you graduate with something tangible for the world and something in changeable for your nation and very importantly for yourself. Can I now ask the graduate to please stand up?

Ladies and gentlemen, I present to you the true gems of Africa. Here is a generation of young Botswana with a creative skills and knowledge that will take this country into new directions. Directions that have begun to expand the economy using creativity and innovation to venture into the creative industries.

Graduates of Limkokwing University, we will remember your enthusiasm, your charm, your brilliants, your contribution to make this University among the most creative and the most stimulating that you can find in this world. Without your active participation the University will not have gained the respect it has from other Universities, without your active participation, we would not have forge the collaboration that we have made with industries and the links that we have made with the government. You will always remain an important part of us as we hope we will be an important part in your memories. We hope you will stay in touch with us. We wish you all well in your careers and in your life. Thank you, congratulations and my warmest good wishes.