Pamela Shumba , Senior Reporter
PRESIDENT Mnangagwa yesterday urged the National University of Science and Technology (Nust) to continue churning out graduates with skills and knowledge to drive the country’s vision to achieve an upper middle-income economy by 2030.
Speaking during the university’s 24th graduation ceremony where he capped 2 507 graduates and was also installed the Chancellor of Nust, President Mnangagwa reiterated the need for Nust to continue churning out graduates with skills and knowledge which can positively transform the economic, scientific and technological landscape of the country.
Professor Mqhele Dlodlo was installed as the Vice Chancellor of the university during the same ceremony.
“Science and technology are key drivers to development and they underpin economic advancements in modern societies.
“As such, the imperative for Nust to rise to the occasion of its mandate and statutory obligation is even greater now, as we seek to industrialise and modernise all sectors of the economy,” said President Mnangagwa.
He said the university has a clear mandate to spearhead the development of human capital for industrial and socio-economic transformation through science and technology-based solutions.
“Nust was therefore established to be the epicentre of science and technology cadreship in the country.
“The centrality and benefits that flow from the technological evolution, in an increasingly connected and knowledge intensive world, must be seized by institutions such as Nust,” said President Mnangagwa.
He added that the litmus test for the quality and effectiveness of any university’s teaching is in the number of innovative and transformative solutions they provide to society.
“Universities should be primarily concerned with the value addition their graduates make towards the developmental trajectory of our nation.
“I encourage Nust not to deviate from its mandate as it is the bedrock for new business models, innovation and technology. The university must appropriately respond to regional and global developments coupled with our present national focus of developing new learning modules,” said the President.
He called on graduands to pursue endeavours which positively contribute to the socio-economic transformation agenda in the country.
“You have been academically empowered with knowledge and skills to adequately play your part in building the Second Republic.
“My Government exhorts all the sectors of the economy to be more productive and target oriented in our bid to grow our economy by 2030,” said President Mnangagwa.
He urged graduates to develop and commercialise requisite vaccines, herbicides, pesticides and other chemicals for animal and plant life.
President Mnangagwa said Government remains concerned about the slow pace of infrastructure development at Nust and promised to facilitate the speedy growth of the university.
“I also invite the corporate world to partner with the government in transforming the face and breadth of studies in our various institutions of higher learning.
“Together we can change our institutions into world class colleges and universities, with graduate outputs for both local and global uptake,” said President Mnangagwa.
In his address, Prof Dlodlo affirmed the university’s readiness to accelerate partnerships with industry and the public sector to bring about economic freedom for the nation.
“We’re committed to continue finding now solutions that are globally incomparable yet locally relevant and appropriate. The opportunities are mind boggling.
“Nust is not just open for business but it’s in business, producing market ready products of the highest quality fit for purpose. We produce well-educated minds and solutions,” said Prof Dlodlo.
Yesterday’s graduation ceremony was also attended by the Minister of Higher and Tertiary Education, Science and Technology Development, Professor Amon Murwira, Minister of State for Bulawayo Provincial Affairs Judith Ncube, Nust chairperson Ambassador Zenzo Nsimbi, senior government officials, other Vice Chancellors and senior officials at Nust.
Notable people who graduated yesterday include Zanu-PF Bulawayo provincial secretary for finance, Cde Mlungisi Moyo, Bulawayo provincial information officer Mr Farai Makuvaza, Chronicle Correspondent Andile Tshuma and former Chronicle interns Allen Khumalo and Cynthia Dube.
After the graduation ceremony, President Mnangagwa visited former Nust Vice Chancellor Professor Phineas Makhurane, who is not feeling well, at his home in Fourwinds suburb.