President Mutharika made the remarks at the Bingu International Convention Center-BICC in Lilongwe when he presided over the graduation of 479 students from the University of Malawi.
Professor Mutharika who is also Chancellor of the University said universities are better-placed to assist Malawians whom he said tend to think negatively to start having a positive outlook on life.
He then urged universities to ensure that there is increased access to higher education, improved quality of their education and to ensure that their programmes are relevant to the needs of the country.
The Malawi leader said this is why his government has embarked on a wave of change in universities as they are the centers of education.
“Malawians can now study on their laptops and mobile phones because not everyone has the time to study physically in the university. We have constructed modern ICT facilities, new lecture theatres and administration blocks. We have also refurbished old lecture theatres.
“Over the past four years we have expanded the teaching and learning facilities at Chancellor College, The Polytechnic, Mzuzu University, Malawi University of Science and Technology and Kamuzu College of Nursing. We are modernizing our public universities because I want Malawians to learn in a good environment.
“And we are doing more to increase access to university education. We have increased funding to the Higher Education Students Loans Board. No deserving students should fail to access university education due to lack of tuition fees. At this point, let me ask the Minister of Education to explore how we can work with commercial banks to provide more student loan opportunities. Let us open more to university education for many more Malawians,” said Professor Mutharika.
During the function, President Mutharika also urged the private sector and the Civil Society to walk the talk and emulate his lead in empowering women.
Professor Mutharika cited the appointment of the country’s first ever female university vice chancellor, a female ombudsman, solicitor general and five commissioners out of nine for the Malawi Electoral Commission-MEC and the chairperson being a woman as examples of his efforts to empower women.
“Let me appeal to all Malawians to unite in building an inclusive society. Malawi must be an inclusive society that empowers the Youth and Women. But building an inclusive society is a process, and not an event that takes place in one day. I will continue appointing women of merit to decision making levels. We have begun this process,” explained the Malawi leader.
This was the fourth congregation of the University to graduate this year. A total of 2,500 students have graduated from the four constituent colleges of the university this year.