By Vincent Khonje, MANA
President Lazarus Chakwera on Saturday led students, teachers and parents in commemorating Kamuzu Academy (KA) Founder’s Day in Mtunthama, Kasungu where he said the true measure of the quality of education delivered at KA and any other education institution is not in the strength of the curriculum or the credentials of teachers who facilitate it, but the men and women that the education produces.
The founding president of the Republic of Malawi, late Ngwazi Dr. Hastings Kamuzu Banda, opened the grammar school on November 21, 1981 and soon was aptly described as the Eton of Africa because of its academic excellence.
The Founder’s day is commemorated every year in honour of great work and vision in academic excellence of the late Dr Banda and Chakwera, accompanied by the First Lady Madame Monica Chakwera and Vice-President Saulos Klaus Chilima, what has always set this institution apart is the ability or the utility of the student to the project of national building that awaits them.
The President said the work of national building is far from done, saying:
“Even though my administration has been entrusted with a task of building a new Malawi there are many obstacles that we must surmount on account of that in the quarter of the century this task has been neglected.
“By way of illustration, at a time when there should have been many public schools of Kamuzu Academy calibre, we have an education system so full of rubble and mediocrity that it will take years just to clear it or to replace it.
“We find ourselves in a strange situation of needing much more than the urgency of the state to fix what is broken in this nation, we need fine men and women who themselves have capacity to break barriers and lead us towards new frontiers and unscaled heights of innovations and development.”
Chakwera said, thankfully Kamuzu Academy has always led the way in producing fine men and women and barrier breakers who are ready not only to go to college and get a job but to make a mark in Malawi.
He mentioned some of the people who have passed through the corridors of the prestigious grammar school such as Yolanda Kaunda — the first female pilot captain in Malawi; Samuel Kampondeni (Malawi’s first radiologist); Samson Kambalu (an artist whose artwork has been exhibited at international level); Chanju Samantha Mwale (who broke barriers as a first female lawyer in Malawi Defence Force) and Catherine Gotani Hara (the first female Speaker of Parliament).
In her remarks, Minister of Education Agnes NyaLonje said Founder, late Dr Banda was a man who cherished a deep belief in quality and excellence and recognized the central importance of education to bring development in Malawi.
“Kamuzu Academy is truly an embodiment of this belief and commitment and excellence applied to education,” NyaLonje said.
Headmaster of the school, Andrew Wild, said Dr Banda’s love turned into service as he realized that leaders needed quality education and that is why he built the school.
“He brought to Mtunthama, the best possible materials like strongest bricks and hardest timber to build the academy that was to last for generations. He also brought to it best possible pupils, highest scoring boys and girls from each district,” Wild said.
He, therefore, asked the President if the initiative of having government sponsored students to the institution should continue.
During the ceremony there were several lessons from the Bible read by students in different languages including Latin, Chinese, French, Chichewa and English.
The school chaplain, Reverend Gerald Guduli, led the prayers, saying the institution was founded with strong belief in God as one of the followed principles.
After arriving at the school, Dr Chakwera toured some displays the students showcased.
Present at the event were notable figures in Ministers such as Ken Kandodo, Khumbize Kandodo Chiponda, Lingson Belekanyama, Speaker of Parliament Catherine Gotani Hara and her deputy Madalitso Kazombo and also Deputy Minister of Education Madalisto Wirima Kambauwa and secretary to the Cabinet, Zangazanga Chikhosi.
Kamuzu Academy has over 650 students and about 50 teachers who are Malawians, British and Chinese.