Mashudu Netsianda, Senior Reporter
PRESIDENT Mnangagwa was yesterday awarded an honorary Doctorate degree in the Philosophy of Education (Honoris Causa) by the National University of Science and Technology (Nust) during the institution’s 25th graduation ceremony in Bulawayo.
In his acceptance speech, President Mnangagwa, who is also the university’s Chancellor, challenged institutions of higher learning to churn out graduates who are adequately equipped with essential skills to drive the country’s modernisation and industrialisation agenda in line with his vision of transforming the economy into an upper middle-income status by 2030.
“As I receive this honour, I challenge all our universities and colleges to ensure that the graduates they churn out are equipped to provide solutions, services and products that will propel our modernisation and industrialisation agenda towards the attainment of Vision 2030,” he said.
President Mnangagwa urged institutions of higher learning to strive for qualitative change to the country’s education in line with the new development trajectory of Zimbabwe and the ever-changing socio-economic dynamics.
“Equally, we must all aim to realise functional education which meets the needs of our communities and aims at improving their quality of life. I challenge graduates to press on to do the extraordinary by inventing, designing and manufacturing products and artefacts from locally incubated ideas and researches,” he said.
The President said Nust has an obligation to churn out graduates who are the bedrock and foundation of the country’s science, technology, engineering and innovation revolution by virtue of being located in Bulawayo, which is the country’s industrial hub.
“To this end, the university (Nust) is challenged to correctly situate itself as a key contributor to the speedy attainment of the modernisation and industrial agenda as well as Vision 2030. I also call upon the corporate sector to nurture partnerships with our institutions of higher learning as well as develop backward and forward linkages that will facilitate the development of innovations which are proudly Zimbabwean products,” he said.
President Mnangagwa challenged institutions of higher learning to have a paradigm shift in their learning modules, course content and industrial attachment approaches.
“May I take this opportunity to also reiterate my Government’s full commitment to support innovative talents, viable socio-economic projects and provision of mentorship to innovative ideas,” he said.
President Mnangagwa said Zimbabwe requires innovative minds to produce goods and services for sustainable economic growth rather than mere academic degrees and diplomas.
“We need disruptive thinkers who are agents for positive transformation and the modernisation of our economy in line with our vision to attain an upper middle-income status by 2030. It is in this context that all economic sectors, Government departments, captains of industry and commerce, among other institutions must work closely with universities such as Nust, to address our weak points, reinforce our strengths and move our country forward and grow our economy,” said President Mnangagwa.
He urged graduates to be patriotic and serve their communities and families with humility and compassion.
The President paid tribute to parents and guardians of the graduates for their immense sacrifices to ensure that their children’s goals were achieved.
Meanwhile, in a citation accompanying the conferment of the honorary doctorate to the President, Nust Vice Chancellor Professor Mqhele Dlodlo said President Mnangagwa deserved recognition for the role he played in shaping the country’s history through his contribution to the liberation struggle.
Prof Dlodlo said President Mnangagwa strongly fought to create diplomatic and business goodwill for Zimbabwe under the mantra “Zimbabwe is Open for Business,” which inspired cooperation and confidence of investors resulting in foreign direct investments.
“These partnership commitments fostered economic growth for the year 2018, raising possible capital injection. His Excellency, Cde Emmerson Dambudzo Mnangagwa’s thrust in higher education has been significant, supporting, widening and deepening access to higher education through establishing memoranda of agreements and scholarship programmes for the nation. He propounded the Education 5.0 model of University Education in Zimbabwe, whereby industrialisation and business development were added to the traditional Education 3.0 model which consisted of teaching, research and community service only,” he said.
Prof Dlodlo said President Mnangagwa more than deserves this highest honour and distinction that Nust bestows upon anyone in recognition of an individual’s striking and unparalleled achievement or contribution to society.
He said President Mnangagwa was the first person in the history of Nust to be conferred with the Honorary Doctorate degree in the Philosophy of Education.
Prof Dlodlo said the President has become an unstoppable force in putting high ideals where technocrats with visible track records of expertise and competencies are appointed to leadership posts.
He said on the international platform, President Mnangagwa has taken a firm position in joining other progressive governments in ensuring that Zimbabwe’s industries, institutions of higher learning and parastatals energise the uptake of renewable energy technologies which strive to sustainably protect the green planet from pollution of fossil fuels.
“His administration has also expanded Command Agriculture, a national food security programme which he successfully spearheaded under the country’s much acclaimed Zimbabwe Agenda for Socio-Economic Transformation (Zim-Asset).
The Minister of Higher and Tertiary Education, Prof Amon Murwira, congratulated President Mnangagwa for attaining the honorary Doctorate, whose motto is “Think, Do and Industrialise”.
Other universities that have since conferred honorary Doctorate degrees on President Mnangagwa include Chinhoyi University of Technology (CUT), which awarded him an honorary PhD in Engineering Services and Technology while Bindura University of Science Education (BUSE) conferred him with of an honorary Doctorate (Honoris Causa) in Peace and Governance during its 18th graduation ceremony last month.
Harare Institute of Technology (HIT) conferred the President with an honorary Doctor of Technology Degree during the institution’s 10th graduation ceremony held in October. — @mashnets