7 December 2020 | Despite problems created during 2020 by the COVID-19 pandemic and resulting economic disruption, 494 students graduated from a variety of programs last week at the University of Arusha, the Adventist academic institution in Tanzania. Msafiri Mbibo, the deputy commissioner for the Tanzania Revenue Authority (TRA), spoke at the event and urged graduates to find self-employment opportunities and to position themselves as light in society.

Mbibo reminded the graduates that education is the key to strengthening and improving the nation’s economy and eradicating poverty. He said that in order to achieve the standard needed in the economy, the entire country must increase productivity. He assured the audience that the government has prioritized education because it is the foundation for everything.

The university will not register this academic year due to not meeting the Tanzania Commission for Universities (TCU) credentials because of the economic challenges despite help from the Adventist denomination’s two union conferences. New faculty have been employed and there is hope on campus to work through the obstacles.

Pastor David Makoye, chair of the university’s board, congratulated the graduates for their achievements and their persistence in their studies. He stated that denominational “leaders are so proud of the University of Arusha for professional production as well as spiritual principles … that ensure high discipline, faithfulness and hard work of both the faculty and students.”

Graduates expressed gratitude to the university leadership for the continuing in the face of major challenges to provide quality education and spiritual ministry that has strengthened their faith. “The university is the best, but it could improve in listening to students. … The ceremony was wonderful despite the challenges,” said Pendo Nehemia, a graduate in education. Joel Baha, another graduate, said, “The university is great in education as well as its faculty. We enjoyed the graduation and hope our diplomas won’t be delayed as we need them ASAP.”

The 494 graduates included those completing training as ministers, as well as certificates, bachelor’s and master’s degrees in a number of different areas of study. The 14th graduation event for the University of Arusha included greetings from Dr. Godwin Lekundayo, president of the denomination’s Northern Tanzania Union Conference, and a number of other church leaders and government officials were present.

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