Walter Nyamukondiwa, Harare Bureau
President Emmerson Mnangagwa yesterday capped 1 567 graduates at Chinhoyi University of Technology’s 14th graduation ceremony.
In his address, Vice Chancellor Professor David Simbi said the university was ready to drive Zimbabwe’s technological development thrust.
“The notion of ‘industrialisation and modernisation’ as seen through Vision 2030 is perhaps the bedrock of achieving Zimbabwe’s socio-economic revival so that as a nation we are able to attain middle class income status by 2030,” Prof Simbi said.
“It is perhaps the economic pillar that you have through Government, chosen to address Zimbabwe’s needs in the immediate, and Chinhoyi University of Technology as an institution established to drive the nation’s technological mandate, we are geared to respond immediately through the training and development of the requisite human capital capable of tackling both the agricultural and mineral resource elements that dominate the primary stratum of our economy.”
Prof Simbi said his institution was working with the Ministry of Higher and Tertiary Education, Science and Technology Development to set up mechanisms to facilitate industrialisation and modernisation of economic drivers.
This, he said, would be supported by the setting up of an Innovation Hub which is nearing completion at the university.
The hub will incubate industrial innovation and business mainly targeting agriculture and mining.
“The university is in the process of completing an innovation hub where ‘industrial innovations and business incubation’ activities will be undertaken,” he said.
“While the initial focus will be directed towards the development of medical bio-engineering, innovations in material synthesis and characterisation will also be undertaken.”
The Vice Chancellor said Zimbabwe needed to move with speed to beneficiate and add value so that it derives value from its resources.
“Zimbabwe is endowed with mineral wealth to which no value addition exploits have been attempted. The innovation hub once completed will be equipped with tooling machines to create appropriate technologies for use in agriculture, mining, processing and manufacturing industries across Zimbabwe.
As Zimbabwe, we should make and engineer our own materials for use in machining and turning of new tooling equipment for new technology and the re-engineering of imported technological outfits that are needed to achieve Vision 2030.”
Prof Simbi called for investment in research to meet the demands of industry and subsequently reduce imports.
In line with universities providing solutions to community challenges, the Department of Animal Technology and Production has developed vaccine, Bovine papillomatosis autogeneous, for the treatment of warts in cattle.
To that end, the university will be producing 200 000 vials for field testing soon.
The Vice Chancellor said further training of graduate researchers was lacking in the country resulting in an exodus of talent outside.
He said there should be a programme of action that defines the nation’s needs to inform projections of 50 to 100 years into the future.
“It is these young intellectuals who will turn the Vision 2030 designed for Zimbabwe into reality that we all want,” he said.
“By reversing the brain drain through the creation of a conducive working environment at this university, it is possible to capture the imaginative and talented youth and redirect their energies to the development of Zimbabwe.”
The graduation ceremony saw 1 321 graduating in undergraduate disciplines including Agriculture Sciences and Technology (220), Art and Design (86), Engineering Sciences and Technology (145), Entrepreneurship and Business Sciences (770), Hospitality and Tourism (75), Natural Sciences and Mathematics (13) and Wildlife, Ecology and Conservation.
At least 331 graduated with first class, taught Masters, Master of Philosophy and Doctor of Philosophy degrees.
The School of Natural Sciences and Mathematics had a graduating class for the first time amid concern over difficulty in recruiting Science, Technology and, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) students.
CUT has a student population of 8 150 students with 45 percent being female.
The enrolment figure is expected to increase to around 10 000 soon.