ED reads riot act to uni­ver­si­ties

The Herald (Zimbabwe) - - National News - From Ge­orge Maponga in MASVINGO

PRES­I­DENT Mnan­gagwa yes­ter­day chal­lenged uni­ver­si­ties to stop tak­ing pride in high en­rol­ment fig­ures and glam­orous in­fra­struc­ture and fo­cus on pro­vid­ing an­swers to the coun­try’s as­pi­ra­tions.

He said this in his ac­cep­tance speech af­ter be­ing in­stalled Great Zim­babwe Uni­ver­sity Chan­cel­lor at the in­sti­tu­tion’s 12th grad­u­a­tion cer­e­mony.

The Pres­i­dent was in­stalled the in­sti­tu­tion’s Vice Chan­cel­lor by Pro­fes­sor Rungano Zvobgo be­fore he capped 3 916 grad­u­ates.

The grad­u­ate were drawn from fac­ul­ties namely Gary Ma­gadzire School of Agri­cul­ture and Nat­u­ral Sci­ences, Si­mon Muzenda School of Arts, Cul­ture and Her­itage, Robert Mu­gabe School of Ed­u­ca­tion, Julius Ny­erere School of So­cial Sci­ences and Mun­hu­mu­tapa School of Com­merce.

Pres­i­dent Mnan­gagwa said un­der the Sec­ond Repub­lic, in­sti­tu­tions of higher learn­ing should play a key role in na­tional de­vel­op­ment.

“In the Sec­ond Repub­lic in­sti­tu­tions of higher learn­ing must no longer merely take pride in stu­dent en­rol­ment fig­ures or the glam­our of in­fra­struc­ture.

The qual­ity and im­pact of schol­ar­ship should be a source of an­swers to our na­tional vi­sion and as­pi­ra­tions,’’ he said.

Pres­i­dent Mnan­gagwa said in­sti­tu­tions of higher learn­ing must pro­vide an es­sen­tial body of knowl­edge to­wards bal­anc­ing ex­ploita­tion of the coun­try’s nat­u­ral re­sources, en­vi­ron­men­tal sus­tain­abil­ity and eco­nomic de­vel­op­ment.

“The im­ple­men­ta­tion of de­vo­lu­tion and the de­vel­op­ment of pro­vin­cial economies should com­pel in­sti­tu­tions of higher learn­ing and grad­uands alike to lever­age on the var­i­ous trade, in­vest­ment and em­ploy­ment op­por­tu­ni­ties that will re­sult there from.”

Pres­i­dent Mnan­gagwa urged the grad­uands to strive to be­come cre­ators of wealth and em­ploy­ment and make a pos­i­tive im­pact in the econ­omy.

He chal­lenged the in­sti­tu­tion to lever­age on its niche for pro­mot­ing the teach­ing of arts, cul­ture and her­itage stud­ies as these had im­mense po­ten­tial to con­trib­ute to the growth of the coun­try’s Gross Do­mes­tic Prod­uct.

“My Govern­ment stands ready to fa­cil­i­tate an en­abling en­vi­ron­ment to grow this sec­tor.

“Mean­while, I urge the play­ers in the in­dus­try to be imag­i­na­tive, orig­i­nal and re­source­ful in their in­ven­tions and de­vel­op­ment of new prod­ucts.”

“We, how­ever, be­moan the preva­lence of piracy in the in­dus­try. Stake­hold­ers should con­tinue to re­view and im­ple­ment the statutes which pro­tect in­tel­lec­tual, prop­erty, patents and copy­rights.”

Pres­i­dent Mnan­gagwa urged the GZU to in­crease its rel­e­vance and vis­i­bil­ity in­line with the Zim­babwe’ s mod­ern is at ion and in­dus­trial is at ion agenda to­wards at­tain­ment of Vi­sion 2030.

“I urge the uni­ver­sity to lever­age on my Govern­ment’ s poli­cies in agri­cul­ture, min­ing, tourism, ICTs, en­ergy and in­fra­struc­ture de­vel­op­ment.

“Let us de­velop strate­gic part­ner­ships and ini­ti­ate Joint Ven­tures and Pub­lic-Pri­vate part­ner­ships to im­prove and grow our in­sti­tu­tion.

“The plan by the uni­ver­sity to be­gin the con­struc­tion of the main cam­pus will re­ceive my Govern­ment’s full sup­port.”

In his ad­dress, Prof Zvobgo said GZU con­tin­ued to grow in leaps and bounds with its stu­dent pop­u­la­tion ris­ing from 4 000 in 2012 to the cur­rent 15 000.

The uni­ver­sity is also in the process of set­ting up a School of Medicine and con­struc­tion work has started.

As part of ef­forts to im­prove sugar cane yields in the Lowveld, Prof Zvobgo said the GZU was con­tribut­ing to sugar cane farm­ing and re­search with 122 farm­ers hav­ing been cer­ti­fied to date.

“A key project on our books is the set­ting up of an in­no­va­tion hub which should lead to an in­dus­trial park.

“We have an in­vestor on board and to­gether we are rar­ing to go.

“We ex­pect this hub to be up and run­ning in the next few months.

“Our stu­dents and com­mu­nity are slowly brew­ing ideas for in­cu­ba­tion, de­vel­op­ment and com­mer­cial is at ion through this hub,” he said.

Prof Zvobgo said the GZU was on course to be the first in­sti­tu­tion of higher learn­ing to own a ra­dio sta­tion with broad­cast­ing equip­ment al­ready in place and awaits its li­cenc­ing.

Out of those who grad­u­ated this year, 60 per­cent were fe­males in the un­der­grad­u­ate cat­e­gory.

Of the 3916 grad­uands capped yes­ter­day 3491 were un­der­grad­u­ate while 425 were post-grad­u­ate stu­dents.

The cer­e­mony was at­tended by mem­bers of the academia and se­nior Govern­ment of­fi­cials among them Higher and Ter­tiary Ed­u­ca­tion, Science and Tech­nol­ogy De­vel­op­ment Min­is­ter Pro­fes­sor Amon Mur­wira, Min­is­ter of State Se­cu­rity Cde Owen Ncube, Masvingo Pro­vin­cial Af­fairs Min­is­ter Cde Ezra Chadza­mira.

Pres­i­dent Mnan­gagwa

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