George Maponga in Masvingo
PRESIDENT Mugabe yesterday capped 2 078 graduands at the 10th Great Zimbabwe University graduation ceremony held at the university’s sports arena in Masvingo.
Those who were awarded degrees and certificates at the colourful ceremony were drawn from the faculties of Arts and Humanities, Culture and Heritage Studies, Commerce, Agriculture and Natural Sciences, Education and Social Sciences.
The graduands comprised 1 450 who successfully completed undergraduate studies and 622 who were in the post-graduate category.
Out of those who were capped by the Great Zimbabwe University Chancellor yesterday, 49,5 percent of them were female.
The total number of graduands this year represented an 82 percent increase from the 1 916 who were capped by President Mugabe at the institution last year.
Among those who graduated, 21 were awarded first class degrees across the various faculties.
Before graduation proceedings started the congregation led by Great Zimbabwe University Vice Chancellor Professor Rungano Zvobgo observed a minute of silence in memory of the late former Finance and Economic Development Minister Dr Samuel Mumbengegwi who died this year.
He was a senior lecturer at the university’s Faculty of Education. In his address, Professor Zvobgo said the institution continued to grow.
The university started with 4 000 students in 2012 but enrolment now stands at 15 000.
He said GZU continued to excel in the academic arena as evidenced by the number of local and international accolades won by students at the institution’s Herbert Chitepo School of Law.
“The development projects at the university have made it very attractive nationally and regionally and this year our enrolment stands at 15 000, a quarter of these are out on work related learning across the country and in the region. Of those in the region, 77 are Namibian students currently doing teaching practice in their home country,’’ said Professor Zvobgo.
‘’Our Moot Law Team from the Herbert Chitepo Law School has brought marvel upon marvel. In March this year the team was invited to the Annual International Mediation Tournament held at the Chicago Law School of Loyola University in the USA where they came a credible fourth out of 51 teams from across the globe. A little later, in July, the same team came fourth out of 25 competing world Law Schools at the prestigious Nelson Mandela World Human Rights Moot Competition which was held at the Palais des Nations in Geneva, Switzerland.’’
Professor Zvobgo said it was worrying that enrolment of females was declining at the university.
He attributed the situation to the current harsh economic enviornment.
The institution also lost many of its students in a very short space of time owing to road carnage.
The VC said as part of its contribution to the country’s economic blueprint Zim-Asset, the university, through the Gary Magadzire School of Agriculture and Natural Sciences, was taking an active role to boost sugar cane production by resettled farmers in the Lowveld through an initiative dubbed ‘’greenbelt.’’
The inaugural group of Lowveld sugar cane farmers undergoing the training led by Retired Police Commissioner Edmore Veterai was shown to President Mugabe.
Professor Zvobgo said the university was waiting for land promised to set up a research station in the arid Chivi district with emphasis on livestock that thrive in dry regions, like donkeys, as well as small grains.
The graduation ceremony was attended by top Government officials including Higher and Tertiary Education, Technology and Science Development Minister Professor Jonathan Moyo and his deputy Dr Godfrey Gandawa, Psychomotor Activities Minister Senator Josaya Hungwe, Masvingo Provincial Affairs Minister Senator Shuvai Mahofa, Chiefs Council President Chief Fortune Charumbira and eminent members of the academia.