Gaborone — The President, Dr Mokgweetsi Masisi has congratulated University of Botswana (UB) 2020 graduates for what her termed their well-deserved academic success.
Speaking November 26 during UB's 38th virtual graduation ceremony, the President said their achievement would contribute to the implementation of the national transformational agenda as espoused in Vision 2036 as well as chart Botswana's transition from a resource-based to a knowledge-based economy.
He reminded the graduates that the country faced a myriad of challenges such as youth unemployment and HIV/AIDS which had been compounded by the advent of COVID-19.
"However, as a resilient nation and with your newly acquired skills, I am confident that we will overcome these challenges and achieve our dreams and aspirations," he said.
President Masisi reiterated government's commitment to create an enabling environment for the private sector to thrive and in the process create jobs, particularly for the youth.
In his message, UB vice chancellor Professor David Norris told graduands to embrace the global citizen they had become, proving to the world that their choice of UB was not a mistake as well as to "make the most of the knowledge and skills you gathered and cherished at Mmadikolo to transform the lives of Batswana."
Guest speaker, former ambassador Mr David Newman said there was need to expeditiously transition into a knowledge-economy where knowledge-based social entrepreneurship would be used as an engine for growth.
Today's economy, he said, would not be dominated by manufacturing but by knowledge based social entrepreneurship.
" ... Your education does not end today its rather the beginning. Dedicate yourself to the pursuit of excellence and use this to bring change to Botswana, " Mr Newman said.
This year's graduation saw Ms Ruth Alfred named the valedictorian, an honour given to a student who has demonstrated overall academic excellence and leadership qualities for the duration of his/her studies at the university.
For her part, Ms Alfred, who started pursuing a Bachelor of Finance (General) in August 2016 and obtained a GPA of 4.7 in the first semester of her studies which she maintained throughout, described 2020 as a challenging year.
"Our studies and indeed our lives, were subjected to a lot of uncertainty as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic and its associated lockdowns," she said.
She said students had to use online learning, a novel to them, and had to work even during weekends to make up for lost time.
Ms Alfred said it was imperative to impart all the skills, knowledge and virtues to fellow students and society at large in order to bring about positive changes.
This year, UB had 2 500 graduands out of which 28 were conferred with PhDs while 368 received MPhil, Masters and Post Graduate Diplomas.
For undergraduate, 1 885 received degrees and 159 were awarded diplomas.
The numbers represent a steady increase of both post-graduate and under-graduate students since last year the university conferred 24 PhDs, 350 MPhil, Masters and Post Graduate Diplomas, 1 821 Degrees and 259 Diploma.
According to UB, the increase in post-graduate underpins the institution's 2020-2029 strategy that emphasises research as part of its trajectory towards becoming a premier research-intensive institution of higher learning.