ANC president Jacob Zuma has encouraged graduates to use their skills for the betterment of society.
Addressing students in the Bhekuzulu Hall at the University of Zululand, on Saturday, Zuma said: "Many people will be looking to you for leadership on a broad range of issues that affect our people.
"We expect you to be part of a class that will provide solutions for the many challenges facing our country."
Zuma said many people still needed to be rescued from poverty, hunger and unemployment.
Education was a tool that could be used to break the cycle of poverty.
"We cannot have a situation in which some children don't go to school because their parents are poor and cannot pay school fees," Zuma said.
He called on teachers to be "understanding" towards pupils from poor backgrounds and to enforce the culture of learning among them.
Zuma stressed that schools must be safe environments and called for an end to pupils taking dangerous weapons to school.
"We must disarm pupils who try to bring weapons to school,'' he said.
Zuma also encouraged graduates from the health sector to improve access to health care for all, particularly the poor in our communities. - Sapa