|Women take the lead in AU's 2012 First class degree graduates|
|Tuesday, 12 June 2012 19:02|
AFRICA University will tomorrow (Saturday) hold its 18th graduation ceremony, which will also highlight the university's 20th Anniversary celebrations as a reputable world class, pan-African institution of higher learning.
Over 300 graduates will be capped in the under-graduate and post-graduate programmes.
Running under the theme: "Embracing diversity, developing leaders for Africa and living our vision in faith," the 2012 graduation celebrates the achievements of the university that to-date now has over 4 000 graduates across the continent, most of them leading lights in various specialties.
On this 18th graduation, women raised the bar of excellence as they took the lead in the First Class degree section. Out of every nine first class degree graduates, eight are women.
The Vice-Chancellor of Africa University, Professor Fanuel Tagwira, said this was a good sign of women embracing empowerment as the 50/50 gender equality policy continues to expand across Africa and worldwide in general.
"Through the 50/50 gender equality policy endorsed by the SADC gender protocol, the capacity of women to claim their rights in education, politics, business or any other domain was enhanced and equal entry without prejudice has been the result present day.
"As Africa University, we took up the 50/50 gender policy from the onset and even in our staff recruitment and student enrolment we always consider it.
"I am very pleased to see our female students excelling above their male counterparts. This is not only their personal achievement, but it is also a bold testimonial that the 50/50 gender policy was indeed a necessity for women that had for so many years been considered nonessential to men," said Prof Tagwira.
One of the First Class graduates, a BSc in Accounts major, Chiedza Dziva, said educating women was educating a nation.
"A Ghanaian scholar, Dr James Emmanuel Kwegwir-Aggrey, said, 'if you educate a man you educate an individual, but if you educate a woman you educate a nation.'
"Zimbabwe and most African states have over the years taken successful steps towards empowering women and ensuring gender equity. This is a great stance in rebuilding our continent.
"I want to encourage all women to aim high and play a role in developing our economy through this policy of the 50/50 gender equity," said Chiedza.
Another First Class student, a BSc in Agriculture major, Macmillan Zingoni, said women should take up empowerment and aim to become the backbone of Zimbabwe's economy.
"Zimbabwean women should embrace empowerment and take the front seat to become the backbone of this economy. We have always played a backseat role but it is high time we show that we are equal and even better to take on politics, business, commercial farming, medical practice, you name it," said Macmillan.
Prof Tagwira added that he is impressed that the university's pan-African dream is alive after 20 years since its inception in 1992.
"When I joined Africa University as a lecturer in 1992 there was no 'visible' campus structure and the campus we have this present-day was a mere dream on paper, but today after 20 years the dream is alive.
"This year up to March 2013, we are celebrating our 20 years as a world class, pan-African institution of higher learning, transforming lives on the African continent through high-quality education.
"Our mission is to nurture intellectuals and future leaders for the continent of Africa and indeed we are doing that."
"From a pioneering class of about 40 students from six African countries, the university currently enrolls 1 600 students, from across 28 African nations and to-date has over 4 000 alumni in 38 countries on the continent," said Prof Tagwira.