Tanzanian President Dr Samia Suluhu Hassan has received the Mount Kilimanjaro Award given by the University of Mbeya to people who have done great things in the country.
The award was received on his behalf by Prime Minister Kassim Majaliwa at the 26th graduation of the university held today at the university in the city of Mbeya.
At the graduation, more than 1,900 students of various disciplines have been awarded certificates at various levels of study including Diplomas, Diplomas, and Master's degrees.
Others who have received the award include the President of the Third Phase, the late Benjamintanzania, and his wife Anna Wajir, as well as former Chief of the Tanzanian Armed Forces Venance Mabeyo, who is now the head of the university.
The university's vice-chancellor, Prof Ndelilio Urio, said their university had awarded Dr Samia the award, recognizing her as the first woman in the country to hold the prestigious position of national leader.
"President Samia Suluhu Hassan took over from his predecessor in a difficult situation and some Tanzanians including those who promote patriarchy did not expect him to be strong and hold the position," he said.
He said the president has been an exemplary leader in managing many issues, including governance, the economy, and the resolution of social challenges, including a significant increase in students receiving loans from the credit board.
"Our university is a great beneficiary of students who receive loans. Five years ago we had only 376 students but now we have 2,834 students. The president has highlighted the balance of credit beneficiaries in private and public colleges," he said.
He asked the Prime Minister to convey their congratulations to the President, Prof Urio said the leader's efforts to promote tourism in the country through his Royal Tour and other initiatives have increased the number of students enrolled for the tourism course at their university.
Commenting on the challenges of the university, the chairman of the university's council, Liliani Badi, cited one of the challenges facing it as a shortage of dormitories, which is causing many students to rent homes outside the campus.
She said the move has had a devastating impact on female students, some of whom have experienced sexual violence in their homes and others have entered into temporary marriages.
"We are asking the Honourable President to help us build our apartment boarding for female students to meet the challenge," he said.
Accepting the award and promising to deliver it to the President, the Prime Minister said the government is proud of the presence of the University of Mbeya as its graduates have been showing great productivity when employed in various public and private sectors.
He urged graduates to continue to use the knowledge they acquire to stimulate development in the areas they come from.
"With the pace of technological change, you should also learn to withstand the competition of the labour market and to leverage the various opportunities that will make you self-employed and employ others," he said.
He commended the university for introducing a degree in marketing and entrepreneurship to tackle the unemployment challenge.
"Your program of learning resilience is a model for colleges as a strategy to tackle the unemployment crisis. "Continue to design and develop many programs to address that challenge for our young people who are completing their studies at various levels," he said.
Speaking about the shortage of dormitories, the Prime Minister promised to deliver the request to the President, while he himself contributed $10 million to support the construction.