Dr Phiri noted that one of the main characteristics of countries that have achieved major transformations in the past is the high quality of their pool of technical, industrial and entrepreneurial human resources.
“One of the main characteristics of countries that have achieved major transformations in the last decades such as Asian Tigers is the high quality of their pool of technical, industrial and entrepreneurial human resources,” he said.
Dr Phiri said this in a speech read for him by his deputy, Professor Nevelyn Willombe during the first Graduation Ceremony for Victoria Falls University of Technology at Courtyard hotel in Livingstone held under the theme: Quality University Education for National Development.”
And Dr Phiri said government had identified human resource development as key towards the achievement of the priority sectors of the Vision 2030.
Dr Phiri stated that the education sector as a whole would be required to provide the necessary skills to steer Zambians to the economic and social prosperity of the Vision 2030.
He stressed that several projects and programs were being implemented under the Vision 2030 to address issues of access, equity, quality and relevance of education in the country.
“Furthermore, significant achievements have been made as a result of reforms implemented by government since 2002,” he said.
And Dr Phiri said government was aware of the challenges being faced by private universities and was studying ways and means of providing effective support to local education investors in order to expand the higher education sector.
He said Higher and Tertiary Education Bill had passed through parliament and would create a level ground for all institutions of higher education.
Dr Phiri also observed that the Victoria Falls University is operating in a very competitive environment, and in order for it to remain relevant and competitive, it must continually re-engineer itself as well as the courses it offers in order to meet the needs of modern society and the country.
He urged Victoria Falls University of Technology to consider developing twinning programmes with other popular and highly ranked institutions of learning that offer similar courses, institutions such as Harvard.
And speaking earlier, newly installed Chancellor Professor Clive Chirwa said he accepted the position of Chancellor as he was impressed with the vision of the institution.
Professor Chirwa who is also Zambia Railways Chief Executive Officer, commended the Patriotic Front Government for the interest it had shown in the institutions of higher learning since it came into power.
He said it was long overdue to have a university of technology in Zambia which would enhance modern day science, fundamental engineering, and technology needed for the country to develop and prosper.
Professor Chirwa encouraged more women to take up courses in technology if they were to make meaningful contributions to the country’s development.
And Vice Chancellor, Getrude Akapelwa Ehueni said the number of students at the institution had increased to 200 and this meant development as the graduates were likely to utilize their skills within the country.
The 16 Graduands at the ceremony included those who graduated with Masters in Business Administration, Bachelor of Science in Project Management, Diploma in Information Technology, Diploma in hotel and Tourism Management, Certificate in Project Management, and Certificate in Information Technology.