Nust to com­ple­ment Sec­ond Re­pub­lic

Sunday News (Zimbabwe) - - Front Page -

THE Na­tional Univer­sity of Sci­ence and Tech­nol­ogy has vowed to play a ma­jor role in the Sec­ond Re­pub­lic’s in­dus­tri­al­i­sa­tion drive by taking heed of Pres­i­dent Mnan­gagwa’s clar­ion call for uni­ver­si­ties to lead in the in­dus­tri­al­i­sa­tion of the coun­try.

This was said by the newly-in­stalled Nust vice-chan­cel­lor, Pro­fes­sor Mqhele Dlodlo dur­ing his in­au­gu­ral speech at the univer­sity’s 24th grad­u­a­tion cer­e­mony on Fri­day where he em­pha­sised the need for the in­sti­tu­tion to help de­velop novel prod­ucts for both the lo­cal and ex­port mar­kets. He said there was a need to sup­port Govern­ment pol­icy and a need to ex­ploit and pro­tect the coun­try’s her­itage for the ben­e­fit of the en­tire na­tion.

“The Sec­ond Re­pub­lic has clearly stated that uni­ver­si­ties will lead the in­dus­tri­al­i­sa­tion of Zim­babwe. Note that they have not said re-in­dus­tri­al­i­sa­tion, but in­dus­tri­al­i­sa­tion. That spells a dif­fer­ent ball game al­to­gether in which we can leapfrog past those na­tions sad­dled with legacy tech­nolo­gies and adopt the lat­est, most ef­fi­cient, com­bi­na­tions of ex­cel­lent tech­nolo­gies and in­ter­na­tional best prac­tices.

“Think of the vast ar­ray of unique African fruits and veg­eta­bles that we know and pick from the forests and bushes with­out turn­ing them into com­mer­cial agri­cul­ture prod­ucts. It was not un­til the Ja­pa­nese brought sea­weed to the ta­ble and in­tro­duced the world to its raw fish, which they called sushi that the world learnt to eat all man­ners of sushi. Just imag­ine if African uni­ver­si­ties were to de­velop com­mer­cial grade fruits and veg­eta­bles from around the con­ti­nent,” said Prof Dlodlo.

He com­mended the Govern­ment for com­ing up with the pol­icy ded­i­cat­ing one per­cent of the Gross Do­mes­tic Pol­icy (GDP) to­wards re­search and de­vel­op­ment. This dove­tails into the Min­istry of Higher and Ter­tiary Ed­u­ca­tion, Sci­ence and Tech­nol­ogy De­vel­op­ment’s state­ment of; Doc­trine to guide the trans­la­tion of Vision 2030 and the tran­si­tional sta­bil­i­sa­tion pro­gramme in higher and ter­tiary ed­u­ca­tion, sci­ence and tech­nol­ogy de­vel­op­ment.

“To­day’s univer­sity must de­velop bench­marks right across its fac­ul­ties for set­ting and main­tain­ing high stan­dards of cur­ricu­lum de­vel­op­ment and man­age­ment of quality. Some of the no­table strate­gies among oth­ers of en­sur­ing this are; con­tin­ual cur­ricu­lum re­view, bench­mark con­tent against best prac­tices in teach­ing and learn­ing and de­vel­op­ing im­proved course, stu­dent and staff as­sess­ment strate­gies.

“Con­tem­po­rary uni­ver­si­ties in Africa have tra­di­tion­ally kept aloof from what they re­garded as the mun­dane task of com­mer­cial­is­ing the results of re­search. Lit­tle did they re­alise that the United States of Amer­ica has the most for­mi­da­ble mil­i­tary in­dus­try be­cause of its lead­ing uni­ver­si­ties de­liv­er­ing mil­i­tary grade prod­ucts from their re­search in col­lab­o­ra­tion with in­dus­try part­ners,” said Prof Dlodlo.

He said for any coun­try that wanted to foster eco­nomic de­vel­op­ment, it had to stop im­port­ing pri­mary goods and ser­vices but de­velop home grown man­u­fac­tur­ing ca­pac­ity.

“You can­not af­ford to be an in­dus­trial con­sumer, buy­ing, as­sem­bling or pack­ag­ing and sell­ing. That is pure trade and with­out lo­cal in­dus­tri­al­i­sa­tion it will put Zim­babwe as a spec­u­la­tors’ mar­ket with­out bring­ing wealth home. As Nust, we af­firm our readi­ness to con­tinue if not ac­cel­er­ate part­ner­ships with in­dus­try and the pub­lic sec­tor to bring about eco­nomic free­dom for us all as a na­tion. We are com­mit­ted to con­tinue find­ing new so­lu­tions that are glob­ally in­com­pa­ra­ble yet lo­cally rel­e­vant and ap­pro­pri­ate. The op­por­tu­ni­ties are mind bog­gling,” said the Vice Chan­cel­lor.

He said while to some this might sound like a pipe dream this was ac­tu­ally a huge pos­si­bil­ity con­sid­er­ing the mar­ket ready prod­ucts that were be­ing pro­duced at the univer­sity, whom he de­scribed as well ed­u­cated minds.

“We pro­duce so­lu­tions such as the ge­netic test­ing cen­tre that has been in de­mand for a few years now, over­grow­ing its cur­rent build­ing shell. We are ac­tively look­ing to re­lo­cate it to more ad­e­quate premises through ei­ther do­na­tions or busi­ness part­ner­ships. “We have the unique bal­ing ma­chine, and a host of other prod­ucts that are ready for an in­dus­trial park, where they can be in­cu­bated and even­tu­ally spun off. We can hardly wait for any­one here that is look­ing for new busi­ness or prod­uct lines to come and start talk­ing busi­ness with us. Those that have done so al­ready, will soon be laugh­ing all the way to the bank — af­ter all Bu­l­awayo is a spe­cial pro­cess­ing zone,” said Prof Dlodlo.

He said in or­der to pre­vent their in­ven­tors they were creat­ing the or­gan­i­sa­tional setup that scouts for the in­tel­lec­tual prop­erty value in the results and fur­ther work with them to de­velop their prod­ucts into some­thing mar­ketable.

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