President caps 1685 at BUSE
THE number of students reading towards Masters degree programmes at Bindura University of Science and Technology (BUSE) has gone up two-fold, compared to previous years owing to an increased number of lecturers completing doctorate studies, the University’s vice chancellor Professor Eddie Mwenje has said.
In his address at the graduation ceremony of 1 685 students whose degrees were conferred by President Mugabe in Bindura yesterday, Prof Mwenje said this year, 144 students graduated with Masters degrees, a 56 percent increase compared to last year.
He attributed the increase to the increased number of lecturers with the capacity to supervise Masters’ students.
“The 56 percent increase in recipients of the Masters’ degree is testimony of the growing capacity of the university staff ’s ability to supervise post-graduate research work as a result of the increase in PhD holders, which stands at 46, including eleven professors,” said Prof Mwenje.
He said in 2011, only three lecturers were PhD holders, but the number has since grown to 46 with 70 others currently pursuing their doctorates.
In line with the national programmes such as Zim-Asset and in support of Command Agriculture, Prof Mwenje said the university was looking forward to training about 5 000 farmers by year-end, in maximising maize yields on a small piece of land.
He said this follows a research done by the university on modification of standard contour ridge (makandiwa) into tiered contours, which showed that yields could increase from the current 0.6 tonnes per hectare to between 1,5 to 2,6 tonnes per hectare.
Prof Mwenje said the researchers in partnership with the Agricultural Extension Services (Agritex) have since trained more than 110 extension workers in Manicaland in this development and about 2 500 farmers have also been trained.
“The impact of this initiative is huge, especially on increasing the average yield per hectare by smallholder farmers, which is currently and sadly below 1,0 tonnes per hectare.
“An increase in productivity to 1,5 tonnes per hectare will see the nation attaining more food security,” he said.
Prof Mwenje said BUSE has also introduced new programmes relevant to the ever-changing demands of the market.
These programmes include Master’s degrees in climate change; food security; physical chemistry; and, optometry.
Prof Mwenje said the university also progressed well in infrastructure development with the completion of a 1 500 seater library, among other developments.
The library, which was officially opened by President Mugabe after the graduation ceremony, was constructed at a cost of over $2,3 million.
Turning to the graduates, Prof Mwenje said while they had succeeded in their studies, the certificates alone were not going to earn them success.
He urged them to be innovative and dream big, in order for them to succeed in the current environment marked by technological developments and unemployment.
“We are living at a time where the only constant is change. Because of the rapid technological changes taking place, the companies and organisations that you hoped you would work for, may soon disappear or fold up. What may have attracted you to a certain company or organisation may change completely,” he said.
“Unemployment is on the rise worldwide. There has been a call in academia and industry and commerce that institutions should produce innovators, creators and entrepreneurs. These are men and women who will create jobs,” said Prof Mwenje.
Of the 1 685 graduates, 236 were conferred with diploma certificates, 29 post graduate degrees, 144 Masters’ degrees and, 1 249 first degree graduands.
Vice President Emmerson Mnangagwa, Higher and Tertiary Education, Science and Technology Development Minister Professor Jonathan Moyo and his deputy Dr Godfrey Gandawa, Local Government, Public Works and National Housing Minister Saviour Kasukuwere and Mashonaland Central Provincial Affairs Minister Martin Dinha were among the dignitaries who attended the ceremony.