Graduates encouraged to be innovative

Sunday, May 21, 2017

Pretoria - Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa has called on the first batch of students to graduate from the University of Mpumalanga to be innovative and to create new opportunities for inclusive development.

“You must innovate, contribute and create new opportunities for inclusive and sustainable development. This is the responsibility you bear as a graduate of the University of Mpumalanga,” said Deputy President Ramaphosa.

The Deputy President was addressing the graduation ceremony of the first cohort of students who registered at the new University of Mpumalanga (UMP) in 2014.

In his capacity as the first Chancellor of UPM having been installed in April 2016, Deputy President Ramaphosa said the graduates carry the hopes and aspirations of many who came before them and that education is an asset that is not to be taken for granted.

“So with this graduation, you are given the key to open the doors of opportunity, not only for yourselves, but also for others. In a country that has suffered centuries of oppression, with widespread poverty, inequality and unemployment, an educated person is a national asset,” he said at the ceremony held at Engwenyama Conference and Sport Resort in White River on Saturday.

The university conferred about 203 qualifications in the fields including hospitality and agriculture among others to which Deputy President Ramaphosa said that obtaining a higher qualification is no easy feat.

“Obtaining a higher education qualification is no easy feat. Not only does it require academic ability and a firm commitment to one’s studies. It also requires the will and determination to overcome the social and economic barriers of a society that is slowly emerging from a past of deprivation and dispossession.”

He said those who were graduating did not come from a privileged background.

“They are the offspring of those who have toiled, who have struggled and who have sacrificed much to build a better future for their children. Today, we celebrate not only those who have earned their degrees and diplomas, but also those who have made this possible – their parents, their families and their communities.”

“A graduation is not only a moment for celebrating achievement. It is as much a moment to pause, think and reflect on the future. Much as it is a time to ululate and blow horns, it is also an opportunity for new beginnings. It is an opportunity to reflect with honesty and with humility on the responsibilities an education confers.”

He told those who were graduating that they should use the knowledge they have obtained in university to not only benefit themselves or their families but to share it with communities. –

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