Kudos to Africa Univer­sity med­i­cal School

The Manica Post - - Comment & Feedback -

ZIM­BABWE is ex­pe­ri­enc­ing a yawn­ing skills short­age in STEM-re­lated fields and uni­ver­si­ties need to re­visit their busi­ness mod­els.

Th­ese are ar­eas of eco­nomic im­por­tance like min­ing, agri­cul­ture and telecom­mu­ni­ca­tions, which are con­stantly ex­pand­ing in scope, cre­at­ing the need for a con­tin­ued re­plen­ish­ment of tal­ent.

In this re­gard, uni­ver­si­ties should vig­or­ously fo­cus on pro­duc­ing for the fu­ture. It is a stub­born fact that fail­ure by our in­sti­tu­tions of higher learn­ing to fol­low this tra­jec­tory will not stop the world from un­der­go­ing con­tin­u­ous change and ad­vance­ment.

So our var­si­ties sim­ply need to think out­side the box. Gone are the days of pro­fes­sors scrib­bling the­o­ries on chalk­boards, stu­dents sub­mit­ting hard copy as­sign­ments, re­sults be­ing plas­tered in news­pa­pers and no­tice boards.

It is against this back­ground that we ap­plaud Africa Univer­sity (AU) for be­ing fu­tur­is­tic in its re­sponse to the de­mands for change.

AU should be com­mended for read­ing into the fu­ture through the es­tab­lish­ment of a med­i­cal school.

AU has also set its sight on es­tab­lish­ing an­other crit­i­cal fac­ulty of Agri­cul­tural En­gi­neer­ing and Tech­nol­ogy.

We say kudos to AU Vice-Chan­cel­lor, Pro­fes­sor Mu­nashe Fu­rusa and his team for lev­er­ag­ing and trans­form­ing Man­i­ca­land’s first var­sity into an an­chor of in­dus­tri­al­i­sa­tion and moderni­sa­tion through re­search, in­no­va­tion tech­nol­ogy so­lu­tions and com­mer­cial­i­sa­tion.

No won­der why the stature of AU has been swirling fol­low­ing its rat­ing as the sec­ond best univer­sity in the coun­try.

On that note, and while cel­e­brat­ing the stand­alone sta­tus of the Man­i­ca­land State Univer­sity of Ap­plied Sci­ences, it is our wish that it takes a cue from AU’s strides and an­nounce its pres­ence as a 21st cen­tury in­sti­tu­tion.

The two var­si­ties should be con­ver­sant with up-to-date and cut­ting edge tech­nolo­gies.

Its ei­ther they adapt or be­come ob­so­lete. Moreso, they should not only adopt tech­nol­ogy, but have a in­trin­sic cul­ture of tech­no­log­i­cal in­no­va­tion and in­ven­tion to en­able them to per­sis­tently pro­duce new and ex­cit­ing high-tech so­lu­tions and prod­ucts that can im­prove Man­i­ca­land and Zim­babwe’s eco­nomic ac­tiv­i­ties.

Gov­ern­ment in­vested a for­tune in the STEM pro­gramme that is be­ing spear­headed by the Min­istry of Higher and Ter­tiary Ed­u­ca­tion, Sci­ence and Tech­nol­ogy Devel­op­ment.

$579 612 has been in­vested in the learn­ing of Sci­ences, Tech­nol­ogy, En­gi­neer­ing and Math­e­mat­ics sub­ject in Man­i­ca­land — with 1 614 stu­dents from the province ben­e­fit­ing.

$319 735 has been in­vested on Lower Six and $259 878 for Up­per Six.

And come 2018, AU and MSUAS should be fully pre­pared to har­ness th­ese great minds and man­u­fac­ture our own Zucker­bergs out of some of them.

We hope that the STEM ini­tia­tive, cur­rently con­fined to 38 schools in Man­i­ca­land, spreads its ten­ta­cles to all cor­ners of the province.

The pri­vate sec­tor should also play ball and sup­port the STEM ini­tia­tive through in­vest­ments in laboratories in sec­ondary schools be­cause at this rate, too many po­ten­tial stu­dents are be­ing lost be­cause not all schools are of­fer­ing sci­ence sub­jects.

Last year, Man­i­ca­land had 484 stu­dents, and this year the num­ber has sky-rock­eted to 1614, which means with solid sci­ence foun­da­tion in all sec­ondary school, it can quadru­ple.

We ap­plaud the ini­tia­tives by Gov­ern­ment to cre­ate tri­par­tite con­ver­gence with in­dus­try and uni­ver­si­ties, but we strongly feel that poly­tech­nics, col­leges and schools should be part of it.

The en­tire Zim­babwe ed­u­ca­tion sec­tor has to trans­form from the ar­chaic, tra­di­tional teach­ing and aca­demic re­search model to cater for the dy­nam­ics of a tech­nol­ogy-driven 21st cen­tury world.

They should pro­duce end prod­ucts that meet or ex­ceed needs of in­dus­try.

We so strongly be­lieve so be­cause the re­lent­less devel­op­ment of dig­i­tal tech­nol­ogy is trans­form­ing every cor­ner of mod­ern so­ci­ety — from health to busi­ness, re­tail to man­u­fac­tur­ing.

There is no es­cap­ing its huge im­pact on sec­ondary or higher ed­u­ca­tion too.

Th­ese higher ed­u­ca­tion in­sti­tu­tions have no choice when it comes to em­brac­ing dig­i­tal trans­for­ma­tion. They have a man­date to de­liver the tech­first ex­pe­ri­ence that today’s stu­dents and in­dus­try ex­pect.

The vast ma­jor­ity of stu­dents em­bark­ing on univer­sity ed­u­ca­tion today are millennials — nat­u­ral adopters of tech­nol­ogy.

So, our ed­u­ca­tional in­sti­tu­tions must fol­low suit.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Zimbabwe

© PressReader. All rights reserved.