Ter­tiary in­sti­tu­tions have vi­tal role to play: VP Mphoko

Chronicle (Zimbabwe) - - National News - Pamela Shumba Se­nior Re­porter

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

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