The Zambian President Rupiah Banda has been awarded an honorary doctorate in Political Science by Rusangu University, formally known as the Zambia Adventist University.
The university conferred the degree in recognition of the distinguished political, civic and economic leadership it feels the President has displayed.
University chancellors emphasised the President’s contributions to higher education. Since Mr Banda assumed the presidency in 2008, 16 private universities have been established.
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During the ceremony, which Mr Banda took time out of his campaign trail to attend, the President reinforced his belief in the importance of education: “We are going to be judged as a truly developed country only when our people have attained education. No country will develop when its population is less educated.
“Education is not a waste of money; money spent on removing ignorance from children is worth investing because the key to success is education,” he said.
The President thanked the university and said that he felt “deeply touched and humbled” to receive the award.
“What is more pleasing is that Rusangu University will be one of my own and I accept the challenge of building the institution,” he added.
Mr Banda applauded the university for providing training for professionals in science – an area most other private universities avoid due to the high costs involved. The President urged graduates to use their valuable degrees to serve the people of Zambia, suggesting they are able to play a significant role in helping the country develop.
“In the recent past, we have witnessed a mass brain-drain in various disciplines in the region. Since your country has provided a platform for your training, it is only fair that you go back to serve the people,” he said.