Tertiary institutions have vital role to play: VP Mphoko
TERTIARY institutions have an important role to play in improving the welfare of communities, economic growth and social progress through creative thinking and technological innovations, Vice President Phelekezela Mphoko said yesterday.
He said solutions to societal challenges that the country is facing require the engagement of all stakeholders such as higher education institutions, ministries, companies, entrepreneurs and investors.
He was addressing academics gathered at the Research and Intellectual Outputs Science, Engineering and Technology (Rio-Set) expo at the National University of Science and Technology (Nust) in Bulawayo . The expo started on Wednesday and ended yesterday. “Most of the problems that we are facing in the country can be solved by intellectuals in our tertiary institutions. Collaborative and multi-disciplinary activities across the borders and systematic approaches are central ingredients of success in the endeavour.
“We should be able to research on anything that can bring positive change to our lives. We need alternatives for the problems that we have and this is a task for the academics gathered here,” said VP Mphoko.
He said the prosperity of regional economies increasingly depends on the development of knowledge clusters, where a number of actors from different sectors and disciplines are connected.
“Let’s research on anything that can bring change to our communities. Chemicals used in mining such as cyanide and pesticides that are used for crops are too dangerous to the environment, human beings and wildlife. We can research on alternative chemicals that are friendlier to our environment.
“Right now we can’t sell our beef to Europe and yet exporting beef can improve our economy. We can research on foot and mouth and come up with solutions. We can research on animal husbandry, how we can improve production of honey, how we can manufacture chemicals to assist albinos who have skin problems,” said VP Mphoko.
He also encouraged researchers to find alternatives for firewood that could be used by farmers in curing tobacco.
Universities, VP Mphoko said, could also manufacture wheelchairs to assist people living with disabilities.
“Our education must foster creativity and innovation for it to bring about economic growth,” said VP Mphoko.
He said the country’s economic blue-print, ZimAsset challenges the nation to treat the difficulties bedevilling the country as an opportunity to introduce social transformation that re-define and re-orient the country’s economic and social plans.
VP Mphoko, who was accompanied by Higher and Tertiary Education, Science and Technology Development Minister Professor Jonathan Moyo toured the exhibition stands at the Rio-Set expo.
Permanent Secretary in the Higher and Tertiary Education Ministry Dr Machivenyika Mapuranga, Zimche chairman Professor Christopher Chetsanga, senior officials from participating institutions also attended yesterday’s event, which was running under the theme ‘Growing the Zimbabwean economy through innovations.” — @pamelashumba1