Five Zambian students were among the 450 Higher Education students that graduated today at South West College Higher Education ceremony at Omagh Leisure Centre. The students Francis Mutale, Obedient Kacheche, Patrick Chingaipe, Phales Mizinga, and Zachariah Manda, benefited from South West College’s Virtual Learning programme with support of Direct Aid For Africa (DAFA) and Fatima Secondary School Zambia.
Mr Malachy McAleer Chief Executive Officer South West College spoke of the commitment of the Zambian students:
“What makes today even more special is the presence of our first Zambian graduates. There are many quotations from learned people on the value of education. One of my favourites is by George Bernard Shaw and it is “what we want is to see the child in pursuit of knowledge; and now knowledge in pursuit of the child”. The students and teachers from Zambia are the embodiment of the George Bernard Shaw quotation. They were never guaranteed the finance to purchase the technology required to access distance learning, but they pursued it relentlessly and their Direct Aid for Africa philanthropic friends responded. Access to the classroom was never easy and 15km hikes by students to college were not unusual. The staff and students of Fatima Secondary School, Ndola’s pursuit of knowledge was relentless and today is one of the many rewards you will receive as a result of your endeavours. I am informed that you are now cascading your knowledge to students in Zambia and, thus, the ripple of knowledge has started. We all, DAFT, SWC and your school, Fatima Secondary School, Ndola have a responsibility to keep this project alive”.
Obedient Kacheche one of the Zambian students on the HNC in Computing said;
“During my entire course of education, I have faced a lot of financial and emotional challenges, especially after I lost my mother. However, I have used these challenges to be the person that I am today. A person of confidence, hardworking, self-discipline and determination. I will be forever grateful to South West College for this opportunity”.
Joseph Martin South West College Governing Body Chairman acknowledged the dedication and commitment of all South West College students in their pursuit of their academic goals and expressed his delight at their future prospects.
Mr Martin said:
“It is very exciting time for the south west with many forward-thinking entrepreneurs now stepping up to the challenge and the colleges continue to play an active role in providing the platform for the graduates of today to blossom. In life it’s extremely important that in whatever career you decide is for you, you are absolutely passionate and enthusiastic about your mission.
“Over the past decade, we have watched a growing cluster of successful, home-grown companies develop from humble beginnings to successfully competing with, and claiming a place amongst, the best in the world. More particularly throughout the current economic challenges, the true entrepreneurial spirit of the people of this region, continues to shine through. I would encourage each and every one of you to try and be the best you can be, and invest in yourself through personal development, and if you implement this robust plan, the opportunities will be limitless.”
This year’s key note addresses were delivered by Professor Cathy Gormley-Heenan, the Pro Vice Chancellor for Research and Impact at Ulster University, and Peter Dixon Chairman of Infinis, the largest renewable company in the UK and Chairman of EverPower Wind in the US.
Degrees, Foundation Degrees and other professional qualifications were awarded to graduates at the event who studied at South West College’s campuses in Cookstown, Dungannon, Enniskillen and Omagh. Students enrolled on a number of courses that are accredited by the University of Ulster and Queen's University Belfast were also honoured.
For further details on the full range of courses offered by South West College log on to www.swc.ac.uk.