Patrick Chitumba, Midlands Bureau Chief
PRESIDENT Mnangagwa yesterday capped 6 995 graduates at the 23rd Midlands State University (MSU) graduation ceremony in Gweru.
The figure comprised 3 519 females and 3 476 males.
A total of 974 post-graduate students were among those capped and included five Doctor of Philosophy and two Master of Philosophy graduates.
Also among the graduands was former Zimpapers intern Primrose Ndlovu who graduated with Master of Science degree in Media and Journalism.
In his keynote address, MSU Vice-Chancellor Professor Victor Muzvidziwa said MSU continues to make strides in pursuit of Education 5.0 objectives.
He said Education 5.0 has helped the university define its niche in the national economic transformation agenda.
“To that end, we have over the past four years painstakingly worked to build the research and innovation ecosystem that will support social and economic development,” said Professor Muzvidziwa.
He said the faculty of Engineering and Geosciences has embarked on the manufacturing of prototypes of black granite beneficiation equipment through seed funding from the Ministry of Higher and Tertiary Education.
Professor Muzvidziwa said there are plans for industrial-scale black granite cutting, polishing and engraving machines to be manufactured at the MSU Industrial Park. “The Faculty is also working with South African and Australian institutions on beneficiation of Zimbabwean lithium ores. Geological mapping is the key to mineral discoveries, the faculty is trialing drone-assisted digital geological mapping that may help cover the 40 percent geological mapping gap in Zimbabwe,” he said.
The department of Metallurgical and Materials Engineering, Professor Muzvidziwa said, has developed nano-technology-based mineral processing materials being trialled by reputable local mining houses in a major drive towards import substitution which is a key deliverable under the National Development Strategy (NDS1).
He said this year MSU filed 45 Intellectual Property applications in the categories of copyrights, utility models, patents, trademarks and industrial designs.
“Our commitment to the innovation ecosystem in its entirety has seen the birth of start-up companies namely, Culinary Delicacies, Nerd-iQ, Midlands Scientific, Real Lego Bricks and Herbicure. These start-ups cover application of Artificial Intelligence in managing business information and security, food and nutrition and plastic waste recycling. The start-ups are being incubated at the Innovation Hub and are ready for scaling up to industrial production levels,” he said.
Professor Muzvidziwa said MSU has 31 active external research grants, adding that the university won eight new international research grants this year.
“In addition, we established 33 active research partnerships through our faculties, institutes and centres. We are adding value to our communities by coming up with solutions to their challenges. MSU worked on several consultancy projects, including aquaculture management, technical support to the Ntengwe community in Binga District and the development of a blood transfusion mobile application for the National Blood Transfusion Services,” he said.
Professor Muzvidziwa said the National Pathology Centre is now operational following final inspection and certification of the Laboratory by the Health Professions Authority on 3 November.
The centre, which was officially commissioned by President Mnangagwa early this year, is equipped with some of the best medical equipment.
“Following the Radiation Protection Authority of Zimbabwe’s approval of the design of our Radiology facility and the arrival of the CT scan, X-ray machine and ultrasound scan, the Centre is ready to offer one of the best medical services in the region at affordable rates,” said Professor Muzvidziwa
He said the equipment for the Centre was installed by local engineers working jointly with Chinese engineers.
Congratulating President Mnangagwa on the successful launch of ZimSat 1 into orbit – he said the faculty of Law moot team was crowned 2022 African champions in the Space law moot court competition organised by the South African Space Institute.
Professor Muzvidziwa said the team proceeded to represent the African block at the Manfred Lachs World Space law moot court competition which was held in Paris, France.
“The team reached the semi-finals and is ranked number three in the world, thus outpacing law schools from the global north with established space programmes. The law school’s contribution to human capital development confirms that the future of space law in Zimbabwe is indeed bright. Our law alumni in fact now occupy strategic positions in the Judicial Services Commission and our courts of law,” he said.
Professor Muzvidziwa said MSU hosted a number of conferences and public lectures this year, notable among them the Gender Conference which was officially opened by the First Lady Dr Auxillia Mnangagwa.
“The conference was on combating sexual harassment at tertiary institutions. Our Centre for Public Policy and Devolution also hosted a public lecture titled: “Unpacking Economic Devolution in Zimbabwe: Gearing Sub-national Governments for Economic Development,” which was delivered by the Minister of Local Government and Public Works, July Moyo. His lecture unpacked the core aspects of the principle of devolution and highlighted its centrality to national economic transformation,” he said.
Professor Muzvidziwa said MSU has a duty to make Zimbabwe an all-inclusive society and to that end, the MSU National Language Institute together with the Higherlife Foundation as funding partners, engaged in a nationwide Sign Language Teacher Capacitation Short Course programme.
“In May 2022, the MSU National Language Institute also took up the responsibility to translate Ministry of Transport and Infrastructural Development documents into chiShona and isiNdebele. Your Excellency and Chancellor, we are navigating a complex global terrain that requires us to be futuristic in all our academic and research undertakings. To this end, we have revised our curriculum, and in July 2022 we launched new degree programmes across all our faculties,” he said.
Professor Muzvidziwa said experts in the arts, humanities and social sciences enable the country to have a human perspective on the challenges that curtail national development.
He said the country needs creative artists, thinkers and philosophers who together with scientists can illuminate and transfigure the world.
“In your speech on December 6 last year, you stressed that, ‘film and movies should be used to inspire our people to be and do more by promoting a favourable national image, the industry must continue to assist in telling the real tale of our wonderful mother country.’ You went on to say that the building of the ‘Zimbabwe we want’ should be fuelled by content Zimbabweans create. Our scholars in the Arts and Humanities responded by coming up with a film production, Tsvakai. The series will be showing on ZTV. Your Excellency and Chancellor, this series is a response to Zimbabwe’s Vision 2030 that reflects the collective aspirations and determination of the people of Zimbabwe,” said Prof Muzvidziwa.