Pamela Shumba Senior Reporter
PRESIDENT Mugabe yesterday capped 2,388 students who graduated in different disciplines at the National University of Science and Technology (Nust) in Bulawayo. A total of 1,752 were undergraduate degree recipients while 629 were conferred with masters’ degree and seven were doctorates.
The acting minister of Higher and Tertiary Education, Science and Technology Development, Lazarus Dokora, who is also the Minister of Primary and Secondary Education, the Minister of State for Bulawayo Provincial Affairs, Nomthandazo Eunice Moyo and Nust council chairperson Mike Ndubiwa were among the officials that attended the graduation ceremony.
In his speech, Nust’s acting Vice Chancellor Professor Samson Sibanda said the institution was in the process of reverting to its mandate of teaching Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics, in line with the government’s new national thrust.
“In terms of enrolment our part one intake for 2015 stands at 2,325 of whom 1,381 (59,4) percent are of Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) disciplines. This shows a gradual shift of emphasis towards STEM disciplines in line with the university’s mandate. We’re fully aware of the concerns and perception of the government that Nust seems to have deviated from its mandate. We’re addressing this issue and we hope that by next year there’ll be evidence of efforts in this regard,” said Prof Sibanda.
He said despite numerous challenges that the university was facing, it had made huge strides towards widening access to higher education through increasing the number of parallel and block release programmes for the benefit of working individuals and students who could not enter university through the conventional way.
“The second strategic direction relates to the generation of knowledge, development of skills through research and solutions as well as identifying and exploiting alternative sources of funding,” said Prof Sibanda.
He said there was a need to upgrade infrastructure and pay staff on time to ensure effective learning.
“Infrastructural development is at variance with staff and student numbers. Since its foundation in 1991, Nust has remained largely a construction site. The issue of timely or untimely disbursements of salaries is an area of great concern to us as a community. All the same we would like to thank the government for restoring the 100 percent salaries disbursement to universities,” said Prof Sibanda.
Two honorary degrees of Philosophy were awarded to Obadiah Moyo of the Rural Libraries and Resources Development Programme and Barbara Nkala, an author and publisher.
Moyo was honoured for his initiative that has enabled rural communities to access reading and learning materials through donkey drawn mobile library.
The donkey drawn mobile library concept has been adopted in many African countries.
Nkala was honoured for her published works that have seen some of her books being used as textbooks in schools.
Some of the notable people who were capped yesterday include Zanu-PF provincial secretary for indigenisation and economic empowerment Cde Mlungisi Moyo and Bulawayo City Council public relations officer Bongiwe Ngwenya who both graduated with Masters in Business Administration.
Sunday News senior reporter Roberta Katunga graduated with a Masters Degree in Journalism and Media Studies.
The Chronicle Correspondent Nqobile Tshili, former intern Vimbai Chinembiri graduated with Bachelor of Science Honours Degrees in Journalism and Media Studies.
Thembelani Moyo was awarded the Zimpapers award for the best graduating student in the department of Journalism and Media Studies.
There were also students who graduated in new programmes.
The new programmes are Master of Science Degree in Accounting, Master of Science Degree in Midwifery Education, Post Graduate Diploma in Water Supply and Sanitation and the PhD in Business Administration.