Pres­i­dent caps 1685 at BUSE

Chronicle (Zimbabwe) - - National News - Paidamoyo Chipunza Harare Bu­reau

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.

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