Following the required safety measures for the pandemic, the awards ceremony was held online, via Zoom, with Unicaf staff joining from the premises of Unicaf University in Lusaka and from the Unicaf HQ in Cyprus, while the winners, their families and members of the press and media also joined from their homes via Internet.
The first winner, Augustine Liyanda is 30 years old and holds a BSc in Natural Resources and Environmental Management. Receiving a cash prize of $500, Augustine thanked Unicaf University and said:
“We live in a constantly evolving world of knowledge and information. No volume of knowledge is sufficient enough to address the rapidly changing work environment. We need to continue learning new skills throughout our lives. This means that education should be readily available to anyone, at anytime and anywhere, without interfering with our work schedules, family responsibilities and other commitments. Online education is indeed the future.’
Kalidas Bwalya, 25, who has a BSc in Economics, won the second prize and received a cash reward of $300. She expressed her hope that online learning can make education accessible to all and added:
‘It is my sincerest hope that as we embrace online learning, we are careful to ensure this transition is as inclusive, as affordable and as accessible as possible, for groups such as people living with disabilities as well as the underprivileged. Education and its delivery need not be an elitist endeavour that only serves and benefits the privileged individuals in society. Allow me to applaud Unicaf University for coming up with this initiative and allowing our voices to be heard, while rewarding us at the same time. I look forward to more such initiatives in the future.’
The third winner, 27 year old Mtonga Rinos, who holds a BSc in Mathematics Education received a cash reward of $200. He was grateful for the prize and for the recognition he received and he said: ‘I wish to express my gratitude to Unicaf University for this competition, which was aimed at inspiring graduates across the country to express their ideas and opinions about the important subject of online education. I am truly grateful for the recognition I have received for my work, and I must mention that, the very fact that the essays were submitted online by candidates around the country, and this ceremony is also taking place online is a clear indication that technology offers efficiency and convenience. It is an undeniable fact that online education transcends limitations of distance, space and time. This is why it is the future of education.’